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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2004
Granted, not all tracks are perfect - I personally find some of the Sinead O Conner (sp?) tracks to be the weakest with somewhat sentimental lyrics to the cynic. However, this album contains some of the most incredibly heavy atmosphere I've yet heard created by anyone - both instrumentally and lyrically. After 18 months or so a track as spellbinding as 'Butterfly Caught' has me on this page ranting as if it was recently purchased. This release is less compromising (it goes deeper and darker) than any by MA before and although some won't relate, those whom do will discover timeless worth. Superb.
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on 21 February 2003
And then there was one... after three albums with ever-reducing line-ups, all of which were in their own way distinctive and brilliant, we get what is effectively a del Naja solo album under the Massive Attack brand. And, whisper it quietly, it's just not very good.
I always think when you've got a release by a big name which you're not sure about it's as well to wonder how you would feel about it if it was a first album by someone you'd never heard of. And in this case I'm afraid the answer would not be flattering. It's trying to be dark, but none of this has the singular menace of, say, Angel from Mezzanine. There's certainly nothing particularly poppy or containing good hooks.
It just kind of ambles along unobtrusively but unengagingly. I've given it a few plays in an attempt to get into it (an indulgence it would not have had if it had been someone's first album) but it just isn't happening. Big disappointment. (But if you like Massive Attack you'll buy it anyway despite iffy reviews, just like I did!)
Two stars rather than one, for not having anything to do with Simon Cowell, Gareth Gates, Will Young, Girls Aloud etc etc.
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on 5 February 2003
Massive attack return after a 5 year break and only one member (3D).
Pretty much the creative genius to begin with- 3D's 100th Window is a triumph. It may lack the consistency of Mezzanine (unusual choice for single Special Cases is one of their weakest coming across as self parody) but has its fair share of tracks, like Mezzanine, that sound absolutely brilliant from the start (Small Time Shot Away, What Your Soul Sings , Future Proof, Anti Star) as well as the tracks that come across as a little self indulgent at first (Everywhen, Butterfly Caught, Name Taken) but grow deeper with every listen.
Fans of Mezzanine (considered by their fans to be their best and an improvement on the sample heavy Blue Lines and the atrociously bland, coffee table antics of Protection) should be pretty happy with 100th Window. It's a little less organic, with live guitars (here replaced by Middle Eastern strings) only gracing a few tracks this time round. There is also a very slight hint of Boards of Canada at work here (not a bad thing), and this is pretty much a timeless dance record (whereas Mezzanine was more rock orientated). The intrigue and atmosphere is still very much here, only more so- if anything 100th Window works even more on the senses, and for pretty much the duration of this album (the whole CD- 76 mins) you will be on another planet.
This is the side of Massive Attack that we always wanted to see- a combination of their best moments with the spaced out epic grandeur of Group Four (a Mezzanine highlight) that was only hinted at before- coming pretty much full circle this time round (average running time for tracks here is roughly 7-8 mins).
I agree with the reviewer who likened them to Pink Floyd- this is brilliantly hypnotic music from an undeniably great band that believe in taking their listeners on a musical journey rather than selling copious amounts of records and appearing on the radio every 5 mins alongside Coldplay.
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on 11 February 2003
Well, it was long enough in the making, but Mssive Attack have finally returned - and it's almost been worth the 5 year wait. After break-ups and backbiting, the original team have dispersed, leaving just Robert "3D" Del Naja and an appearance by the legendary Horace Andy. The overall feel of this album is a lot lighter than mezzanine, and sounds like more of a soundtrack than Blue Lines. It's mellow soundscapes are silky smooth, with some beautifully crafted melodies that make you tingle all over.Then again, that's nothing new from electronic masters Massive Attack.
This time around, Robert 3D Del Naja actually sings on a few tracks, and his voice is surprisingly sweet and actually compliments the music perfectly. Massive have alwyas had a good ear for guest singers, and this album is no exception. Del Naja and Andy are joined by guest vocalist Sinead O'Connor, whose voice is amazingly suited to the sound. She even goes a bit rock-chick with some of the songs! The second track, "What your soul sings" is the best by far, with an addictive drum-line and silky smooth lyrics care of Ms O'Connor.
100th window is clearly a departure in tone from the previous albums, but this definitely is not a bad thing. If anything, the change is refreshing and feels more modern.
Once again, they've turned in a must-buy. The Attack is most certainly back.
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on 13 February 2003
It's been a while since MA put anything out. Ever since their groundbreaking "blue lines" though, it's been worth it. This album is, again, different to the others (but that what you expect from MA), but it definitely rocks; from the intro to "future proof", it immediately immerses the listener in a dark, cold, moody world. Track after track of wierd, sometimes very sharp lyrics (e.g. "a prayer for England"), very sharp beats and melodies (e.g. "Butterfly Caught"). The sound is a bit techy-er than previous MA stuff, but then again it's a bit easier on the ears than Mezzanine (not to say that wasn't a ****ing excellent album).
Smith and Mighty may be the original Bristol Sound, and Kosheen the new kids on the block, but Massive Attack _perfected_ the Sound, and this album says they ain't finished yet.
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on 21 February 2003
This is one of those albums that requires several listens before a realistic opinion can be formed. At first I didn't think it was as good as Mezzanine, which I loved. But, after several listens it's started to grow on me.
This album is dark, darker possibly than Mezzanine. It's an album for those moody moments and for the times when your mind wanders. It manages to remind me of past events in my life, those things being good and bad.
The stand out tracks for me are "Future Proof", "What Your Soul Sings", "Special Cases", and "A Prayer For England".
If you liked Mezzanine, buy this. If you haven't heard any Massive Attack, buy this. This album just needs a few listens.
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on 11 March 2006
The first thing one should do when analising a piece of art is not to compare it with it's artists previous works, or any others artist's pieces of work. I know all Massive Attack's previous releases,and own them. This one is special in it's own right. Mezzanine...great, Blue Lines...excellent...But do not be mistaken in putting this diamond down. Listen carefully and forget how much you loved their previous records. Each record is different, and so they should be.
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on 17 October 2014
I am a huge fan of MA. My all time favourite tracks are...

Teardrop
Black Milk
What your soul sings
Future proof
Protection
Safe from harm
Small time shot away

Yep 3 of them are on this album. Now for some reason a lot of people dislike this album? Probably the same way i hated the dreadful 'Heligoland' album...the eternal blemish on the MA career.

Now I see massive attack as a benchmark of rich, deep, sensuality, crisp beats and subtle nuances within the electronica that combine into sublimity itself, I never really liked the R&B aspect with rapped lyrics from the earlier days. I think they managed to find a space that was something more elemental, primal, dark and ethereal and that's why we love them right?....To me the dark places that 'Mezzanine' took us into was probably their finest work at captivating the audience. '100th Window' is different but has echoes of this power. I often listen to both albums back to back from the dark sublime, sensual void of mezzanine to the wistful melancholy of 100th window they just both work together and feel like the practiced work of musical masters.

Summary= Up there with 'Mezzanine'.
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on 15 June 2003
It seems to me that most people are missing the point of a Massive Attack album. Massive Attack have always been a collective. Members, collaborators and inspirations have come and gone. They are something special, one of the few acts who are still pushing back the boundaries, still providing their listeners with the unexpected and still creating stunning music.
'Blue Lines' was an amazing debut and up there with the best, but the reason it is so good is because it has such soul and clarity. 'Protection' was a band showing they could deliver upon the promise and make a follow up which was equally as good. Although Protection is far more than this, as its a band showing they don't need to rely upon samples for their musical inspiration and can invent sounds in the studio with the same genius that touched the songs they originally sampled.
Is it not obvious why Massive Attack have made 100th Window? They dont want to rely upon samples, but want to continue making music with the same soul and clarity as the samples in these songs had to offer them. Surely we don't want them to remain the same forever? This is their first album without any samples, or cover versions, and it is a massive step in the right direction.
Massive Attack do not have to stay within the confinements of labels such as hip hop; Massive Attack do not have to remain loyal to their so called "black roots"; Massive Attack do not have to release a major single from their album; All Massive Attack have to do is to continue being Massive Attack.
Be thankful for what you've got.
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on 31 March 2003
MA fans can be entered into 2 categories: those who likes the soul, r'n'b-esque beats of the bands' first 2 LP's, and those who prefered the dark soundscapes of 'Mezzanine' - personally, I am one of the latter, and hense the 4 stars.
WARNING: DO NOT EXPECT ANOTHER 'UNFINISHED SYMPATHY'!! Expect some more of what Mezzanine had to offer, and throw in a touch of what the band had done in previous years, and you have what I must describe as one of the most beautiful albums released.
Sinead O'Connor's voice fits perfectly on 3 of the album's most strong tracks ('What Your Soul Sings','Futureproof' and the rather naueseatingly titled 'A Prayer For England'). The first single, 'Futureproof' provides perhaps the most Mezzanine-esque feel, so do not be repelled by this, but then my advice would be to be sceptical on purchasing it if Mezzanine didn't leave your jaw trailing along the carpet.
A downside to this rather impressive (or disappointing, depending on which MA category you belong in) record, is that songs such as 'Butterfly Caught', though very well structured, are a slight anti-climax, as the song seems to amount to nothing. 'Everywhen' is the epitamy of boredom, with it's monotonous musical contributions as well as it's vocals...but what has ever been a totally perfect album?
My suggestion would be to at least have a listen to this album - it's actually quite an aquired taste, but once approved of, it's very satisfying!
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