Mezzanine (album)

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Mezzanine
Studio album by Massive Attack
Released 20 April 1998
Recorded 1997–98 at Massive Attack and Christchurch Studios, Bristol (recording); Olympic Studios and Metropolis Studios, London (mixing and engineering)
Genre Trip hop, downtempo, electronica, alternative rock, experimental rock[1]
Length 63:36
Label Circa/Virgin
Producer Neil Davidge, Massive Attack
Massive Attack chronology
Protection
(1994)
Mezzanine
(1998)
100th Window
(2003)
Singles from Mezzanine
  1. "Risingson"
    Released: August 4, 1997
  2. "Teardrop"
    Released: April 27, 1998
  3. "Angel"
    Released: July 13, 1998
  4. "Inertia Creeps"
    Released: November 17, 1998

Mezzanine is the third studio album by English trip hop group Massive Attack, released on 20 April 1998 by Virgin Records.

It was the first album to be produced by Neil Davidge, along with the group. The entire album was provided on their website for legal download many months before the physical release was announced. It was one of the first major uses of the MP3 format by a commercial organisation.[2]

The album is the band's most commercially successful to date. Upon release it went to the number one spot in the UK, Australian, Irish and New Zealand album charts.

Background[edit]

The production of Mezzanine was a stressful process, with tensions arising within the group. The album was meant to be released in December 1997, but was delayed by four months, with Del Naja spending most of the time in the studio "making tracks, tearing them apart, f***ing [sic] them up, panicking, then starting again."[3]

Mezzanine was a pretty sketchy album in terms of the way we worked, because the band, as reported a lot at that time, were not getting on. So I'd be in the studio working with one of the members and someone else would come in, then the person I had been working with would leave and I'd have to change the track I was working on because they didn't want to work on that track, they wanted to work on something different. Sometimes I'd be working on perhaps four different tracks in one day, which was a pretty messy way to work.

– Neil Davidge in an interview.[4]

The album's working title was "Damaged Goods", which was the name of the Gang of Four's debut single.[5]

Musical style[edit]

Musically, Mezzanine is a major departure from the jazzy and laidback sound of the first two albums (Blue Lines and Protection), invoking the dark undercurrents which had always been present in the collective's music. The album's textured and deep tone relies heavily on abstract and ambient sounds, as demonstrated in the song "Angel" among others.

Similar to their previous albums, the majority of the songs consists of one or more samples, ranging from Isaac Hayes to Led Zeppelin. In 1998 Manfred Mann sued Massive Attack for unauthorised use of a sample of the song "Tribute" from Manfred Mann's Earth Band's eponymous 1972 album, used in "Black Milk".[6] The song has subsequently appeared as "Black Melt" on later releases and at live performances, with the sample removed.

Mezzanine marked the parting of band member Andrew Vowles, due to creative conflicts. Horace Andy, a well-known reggae artist, also performed several spots on the album.[7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[8]
BBC (favourable)[9]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[10]
Entertainment Weekly A−[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
Stylus Magazine B[13]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[14]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[15]

Mezzanine performed very well in sales, and was a huge success in the UK and other parts of Europe. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number one,[16] and was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 4 September 1998 and then double platinum on 22 July 2013.[17] However, it failed to share the same success in North America, peaking at number sixty on the Billboard 200[18] and number fifty-one on the Canadian Albums Chart.[19]

The album received, for the most part, significant critical acclaim, who praised the collective's new sound. Rolling Stone's Barney Hoskyns, although praising the album, pointed to its flaws: "Sometimes rhythm and texture are explored at the expense of memorable tunes, and the absence of the bizarre Tricky [...] only highlights the flat, monotonous rapping of the group's 3-D."[12]

John Bush of Allmusic also had positive words for the album's song "Inertia Creeps", saying it "could well be the highlight, another feature for just the core threesome. With eerie atmospherics, fuzz-tone guitars, and a wealth of effects, the song could well be the best production from the best team of producers the electronic world had ever seen."[8]

Years after the album was released, it was placed on several best-of lists in the UK, and even in the United States. In 2000, Q magazine placed Mezzanine at number 15 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 412 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[20]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Angel" (sampled "Last Bongo in Belgium" by The Incredible Bongo Band) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Hinds 6:19
2. "Risingson" (sampled "I Found a Reason" by The Velvet Underground) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Reed, Seeger 4:58
3. "Teardrop" (sampled "Sometimes I Cry" by Les McCann) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Fraser 5:30
4. "Inertia Creeps" (sampled "Rockwrok" by Ultravox) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles 5:57
5. "Exchange" (sampled "Our Day Will Come" by Isaac Hayes and "Summer in the City" by Quincy Jones) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Hilliard, Garson 4:11
6. "Dissolved Girl"   Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Sarah Jay Hawley, Schwartz 6:06
7. "Man Next Door" (sampled "10:15 Saturday Night" by The Cure and "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin) Holt, Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey 5:56
8. "Black Milk" (sampled "Tribute" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Fraser 6:21
9. "Mezzanine" (sampled "Heavy Soul Slinger" by Bernard Purdie) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles 5:56
10. "Group Four"   Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Fraser 8:12
11. "(Exchange)" (sampled "Our Day Will Come" by Isaac Hayes and "Summer in the City" by Quincy Jones) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles, Hinds, Hilliard, Garson 4:10
12. "Superpredators" (sampled "Metal Postcard" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Japanese bonus track) Del Naja, Marshall, Vowles 5:16

Personnel[edit]

  • Robert Del Naja – vocals, producer, arrangements, programming, keyboards, samples, art direction, design
  • Grant Marshall – vocals, producer, arrangements, programming, keyboards, samples
  • Andrew Vowles – producer, arrangements, programming, keyboards, samples

Other personnel[edit]

  • Neil Davidge – producer, arrangements, programming, keyboards, samples
  • Horace Andy (1, 7, 11), Elizabeth Fraser (3, 8, 10), Sara Jay (6) – vocals
  • Angelo Bruschini – guitars
  • Jon Harris, Bob Locke, Winston Blisset – bass guitars
  • Andy Gangadeen – drums
  • Dave Jenkins, Michael Timothy – additional keyboards
  • Jan Kybert – ProTools
  • Lee Shepherd – engineer (Massive Attack and Christchurch Studios)
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – mixing (Olympic Studios)
  • Jan Kybert, Paul "P-Dub" Walton – assistant mixing
  • Tim Young – editing, engineer (Metropolis Studios)
  • Nick Knight – photography
  • Tom Hingston – art direction, design

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
Australia[43] Platinum
Austria[44] Gold
Belgium[45] Platinum
Canada[46] Gold
France[47] 2× Gold
Germany[48] Gold
New Zealand[49] Platinum
Norway[50] Gold
Switzerland[51] Platinum
United Kingdom[17] 2× Platinum
Summaries
Europe[52] 2× Platinum

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/mezzanine-mw0000032129
  2. ^ http://massiveattack.com/wiki/index.php/Mezzanine Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  3. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Risingson - Massive Attack- Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  4. ^ Humberstone, Nigel (April 2003). "Massive Attack - Neil Davidge: Recording 100th Window". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  5. ^ http://www.red-lines.co.uk/reading/qjan99.htm
  6. ^ "Massive Attack : Manfred Mann Sues Massive Attack". VH1.com. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/andy_horace/bio.jhtml
  8. ^ a b Bush, John. "Mezzanine – Massive Attack". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/mh8c
  10. ^ Narin, Cihan (1 April 2001). "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Mirkin, Steven Mirkin (15 May 1998). "Mezzanine Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Hoskyns, Barney (28 May 1998). "Massive Attack: Mezzanine". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "Robert Christgau Review". Robertchristgau.com. 
  15. ^ "Massive Attack - Mezzanine". 24 January 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "1998 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. 2 May 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. 4 September 1998. Retrieved 19 October 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "Massive Attack Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Top 100 CDs". RPM 67 (7). 11 May 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "412) Mezzanine". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 1 November 2003. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
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  32. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard 110 (19): 58–59. 9 May 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  33. ^ "マッシヴ・アタックのアルバム売り上げランキング" [Massive Attack album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  35. ^ "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  36. ^ "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  37. ^ "Massive Attack – Mezzanine". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Albums 1998". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  39. ^ "Jahreshitparade Alben 1998" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1998" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  41. ^ "Rapports Annuels 1998" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  42. ^ "Classement Albums – année 1998" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  43. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  44. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Massive Attack – Mezzanine" (in German). IFPI Austria. 31 May 2001. Retrieved 10 January 2013.  Enter Massive Attack in the field Interpret. Enter Mezzanine in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
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  47. ^ "French album certifications – Massive Attack – Mezzanine" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 22 December 1999. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  48. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Massive Attack; 'Mezzanine')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
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  50. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – Massive Attack – Mezzanine" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  51. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Massive Attack; 'Mezzanine')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  52. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2004". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 January 2013.