Inertia Creeps

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"Inertia Creeps"
Single by Massive Attack
from the album Mezzanine
Released17 November 1998 (1998-11-17)
StudioMassive Attack & Christchurch, Bristol, UK
Producer(s)Neil Davidge
Massive Attack singles chronology
"Inertia Creeps"
"Special Cases"
Music video
"Inertia Creeps" on YouTube

"Inertia Creeps" is a single by the trip hop group Massive Attack, released on 17 November 1998. It is the fourth and final single released off their third album Mezzanine, and is the tenth single overall.

It is the least commercially successful of the four singles released from Mezzanine, charting only on the New Zealand Singles Chart at No. 16 and the Polish LP3 chart at No. 47, but has been noted as one of the best singles from the album.

Background and composition[edit]

The song describes a relationship that Robert del Naja had, which at the time had just ended:

I already had a lot of the lyrics written before. It was just about a relationship I had been going through. It's about being in a situation but knowing you should be out of it but you're too fucking lazy or weak to leave. And you're dishonest to yourself and dishonest to the other person. You're betraying them everyday [sic] and the whole scene feels like it's closing in on you, d'ya-know-what-I-mean? The idea is a combination of movements propelling yourself forward and pulling yourself back at the same time. That's what the track's about—a fucked up relationship basically and there it is.[2]

The rhythm of "Inertia Creeps" has a strong çiftetelli influence, inspired by nights out in Istanbul. Robert del Naja acquired some tapes of such music, which were used as a basis for the song.[2] The song is composed in the key of D-sharp minor[1] and it runs at a tempo of 84 beats per minute.[3] It samples the song "ROckWrok" by New Wave band Ultravox.[4]

Other featured songs[edit]

The single contains three remixes of the original song, the first from Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers, the second from British DJ State of Bengal, and the third from fellow Bristol trip hop group Alpha, along with two other tracks titled "Back She Comes" and "Reflection".[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Inertia Creeps" features Robert del Naja sitting on a sofa. He is watching an explicit clip of his partner having sex with what appears to be Mushroom. The clip is directed and recorded by Daddy G, who is in the same room as the extramarital couple. Del Naja is shown to be frequently shocked by the clip (especially a scene where she performs fellatio on Mushroom whilst sitting in a chair); he breathes heavily while watching it, turns away a lot from the camcorder, fast-forwards a lot of the video, and at one point he ends up hiding behind a blanket. The video has received over 8 million views on YouTube.[6]


In the album review of Mezzanine, John Bush of AllMusic gave "Inertia Creeps" critical acclaim, describing the song as the highlight of the album: "Inertia Creeps" 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."[7]

A separate review for the single, also carried out on AllMusic but by Matt Whalley, gave the single 4 stars out of 5,[8] praising the song itself, saying "Between 1990-1998, Massive Attack has never made a single that was more interesting and unmatched in style."[8] The three remixes also received positive attention, with Whalley stating that they took the track into "two unique directions which ensure replay value."[8]

Track listing[edit]

1."Inertia Creeps"5:56
2."Inertia Creeps" (Radio edit)4:09
3."Inertia Creeps" (Manic Street Preachers version)5:02
4."Inertia Creeps" (State of Bengal remix)6:23
5."Inertia Creeps" (Alpha mix)5:54
6."Back She Comes"6:07
7."Reflection" (Written by Robert del Naja and Neil Davidge only)4:52
Total length:37:59[9]


Massive Attack

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

Additional personnel

  • Neil Davidge – producer, arrangements, programming, keyboards, samples
  • Angelo Bruschini, Michael Thompson - guitars
  • Jon Harris, Bob Locke, Winston Blisset – bass guitars
  • Andy Gangadeen – additional drums, percussion
  • Dave Jenkins, Michael Timothy – additional keyboards

Recording personnel

  • Jan Kybert – Pro Tools
  • 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)


Chart (1998) Peak
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 16
Poland (LP3)[11] 47


  1. ^ a b Tompkins, Dave. "Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps". Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Prasad, Anil. "Massive Attack - Massive aggressive". Innerviews. Retrieved 10 July 2013. The music came from nights out in Istanbul. There's some mad music there at some belly dancing shows which are pretty embarrassingly tourist-orientated. But the music was fucking really cool. I got some tapes and I was in the studio when we were working on this music. Mush came in and I was fucking really bitching and beat as shit and I said "I got this fucking wicked beat I heard from this fucking tape" and we started writing this new beat from it and so it was really cool, d'ya-know-what-I-mean? It was one of those good fucking days in the studio when everyone was on the same fucking vibe. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "BPM Database - Browse". Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Patrin, Nate (8 January 2017). "Massive Attack - Mezzanine". Pitchfork Media. Condé Nast. Retrieved 28 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "INFO → INERTIA CREEPS". Retrieved 28 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps". YouTube. 8 March 2009. Retrieved 2017-07-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Bush, John. "Mezzanine - Massive Attack". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b c Whalley, Matt. "Inertia Creeps - Massive Attack". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Matt Whalley (1998-11-17). "Inertia Creeps - Massive Attack | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ " – Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Notowanie nr873" (in Polish). LP3. 23 October 1998. Retrieved 16 February 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]