Sound — 9
"Protection" is very much an electronic record, but with a good dash of rock influence and even some reggae and hip hop vibes. For an album I bought at a thrift store for $3, it was a pretty damn good find. Pulsing basses are accompanied by short guitar and piano riffs, drum machines, synths and some vocals. The title track is an excellent fusion of indie rock and electronic, with highly aesthetically pleasing lyrics and vocals. I can perfectly understand someone who would find this album boring, because in theory it kind of is. But there's something about Massive Attack's unique sound that keeps me coming back to this album. The difference between a great musical group and a mediocre one, in my opinion, is the magic. That is, the magical combination of creativity, influence and skill level that certainly not every musician can pull off. It's a fine balance that cannot be taught. After listening to "Protection," I believe that Massive Attack show that magic and hope the rest of their discography proves to be as equally as impressive as this record.
Lyrics — 8
Like with a lot of electronic music, lyrics are certainly not the focus of this album. The feelings are translated through the instrument's voices. The humans are only there for additional support, and to provide the high end of this very bass heavy music. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the vocalists featured on this album, but I feel the instruments convey the real meaning. Vocal styles range from rap, pop, reggae and rock which gives the record a nice touch. The lyrics are such one might expect from an indie record, covering themes of nostalgia, longing, love, philosophy, and general indie randomness.
Overall Impression — 8
Highlights of the album include the title track, "Three" and "Better Things" for their ambiance, composition, song structure and vocalists. I particularly enjoyed the mid slide in "Eurochild" and the Darth Vader breathing in "Heat Miser." They're subtle but really pull their respective songs together. To those used to fast-paced heavy guitar music, this album would seem dull and boring in comparison. However, there is great beauty and musicianship in the dark vibes and mellow grooves of this record. It's not for everyone, but its impact on the electronic scene is undeniable. It was featured in Robert Dimery's book, "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" along with "Blue Lines." Although it came out almost 20 years ago, this album is still just as influential as the day it was released. In my opinion, it's not about when an album was released, but the lasting impact it has on the music world. Although Massive Attack are not exactly a household name, the people that their records do reach remember them. That is, remember them for either being strange, weird, beautiful, interesting, dark, unsettling, and in this UGer's opinion, one of the most satisfying and unique records she has ever had the pleasure of listening to. Yes I'm mainly a metal head, but I'm proud to call myself a pretty big fan of Massive Attack.