Bristol, late eighties. A couple of music lovers decided to band up together and start making some innovative tunes. Merging of hip-hop, reggae, soul and dub combined with some avid guest vocalists showed the world that music knows now boundaries and that if you do it right every musical cocktail can be a pleasant experience. Daddy G, 3D, and Mushroom made something unique, something that will become a trademark of British music scene in the nineties, they made trip-hop.
Blue lines can probably be called a revolutionary album in the music industry, combining influences from many sides, making something completely new, never heard before, something that was so awesome that everyone was shocked by the quality and innovation concentrated in every song on the album. From the opener Safe From Harm, you realize how exceptional this record is. And then comes One Love that has reggae foundation but it isn’t reggae song, it’s something in between reggae, dub, and hip-hop. Just Wow! The album continues in a similar manner serving your aural system tunes that are hard to describe and put into any particular mold, but that doesn’t matter because you’re enjoying it all. Female soul vocals, Tricky’s sprechgesang rapping, jazzy tunes, reggae singing, it’s phenomenal. I was pleasantly surprised when first hearing this album because I couldn’t believe that something like this can be made. I mean, yes it could be made, everyone can put many genres in a blender, mix it up and then (usually) offer you musical Frankenstein that don’t have its own identity and that sounds like all that influences are in some free-for-all deathmatch where you don’t know what the heck you’re listening. But this level of sound craftsmanship is very hard to find. Bloody marvelous orchestral arrangements, constant change of styles and impeccable harmony and rhythm, this Frankenstein isn’t a monster, it’s a post-human.
Listening to Blue lines takes you through pleasant landscapes that build up your mood and I advise everyone to listen to this record when they’re feeling blue (pun intended). This is music for walking down the street, for chilling out at your place, for playing it on parties (at the late part when everyone is already drunk and/or stoned), for studying or doing whatever, whenever. It’s a universal companion for your life. Chuck Palahniuk (that guy who wrote Fight Club) said that he plays this album on repeat when he writes. I think that’s good enough recommendation to check Blue lines out if you haven’t already. And if you already did that then at least hear it again, and again.
What can I say, I love this album. This review is probably a little bit subjective, but everyone who loves Massive Attack will probably find themselves in this article. Again, this is a masterpiece of modern music and I hope that it’ll be listened in the decades to come, ultimately becoming a true musical classic.
Standout songs: every song is a gem in its way, but Safe From Harm, One Love, Five Man Army and Unfinished Sympathy shine the brightest.