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Massive Attack v Radiohead (Possibly an unfair comparison)
on 26 February 2017
A review I read for this Massive Attack album prior to purchase, is, after listening to it, pretty much spot on, with a few exceptions which I'll go into later. It's inevitable however, when anything is compared to an all time classic (Mezzanine 1998), the comparison isn't really fair. For example, in tennis terms, if you compare Andy Murray with Roger Federer, Murray doesn't really compare all that well, yet he is a brilliant player in his own right. In musical terms, I don't think this album is brilliant and it does suffer because of the presence of Mezzanine. Possibly Massive Attack struggled after their success of '98, with direction for this new album in 2003. Who knows? The previous reviewer stated that they felt the band had attempted a spin off to achieve similar acclaim. I don't agree with this assessment. To me it's darker than Mezzanine and different enough for me to reject that notion. I agree Sinead O'Connor isn't Tracey Thorn in terms of vocals but the song writing is better. For me the album meanders a bit and I agree that it's a bit one paced. Some of the songs don't sufficiently distinguish themselves from one another. Special Cases is a stand out track along with Future Proof. All throughout you can see why Massive Attack have won an award for Original Sound (2009). The only other musical comparison that I can think of here is when Kid A by Radiohead was released in the year 2000. Music critics rounded on the band for this release after their OK Computer classic of '97. They had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in three years. Picking up a copy of Q Magazine the next time they print a list of what they consider to be the best albums ever made you'll predictably fined OK Computer at the top, but less predictably Kid A in the top 10. The review states that the track "Morning Bell" is the best Radiohead has ever produced. I'm afraid, however, that 100th Window is no Kid A, perhaps because it isn't radical enough to distinguish itself in it's own right from the previous Mezzanine classic. It isn't a carbon copy, but it isn't different enough. Kid A does do this. The reason for the poor reception being that it was so radically different from their classic OK Computer that the critics were gobsmacked. If you listen to Kid A and Ok Computer back to back you'll see what I mean. So 100th Window is a good album. I give it four stars. Highly recommended CD for under £5. If only Robert Del Naja and Thom Yorke would collaborate on something then Utopia would indeed have arrived!!