On this next episode of The Broken Record Player Podcast, I sat down with fellow music podcaster Ian Clarke to discuss one of the most iconic albums of the 90s. Ian is involved in two podcasts related to music: We Dig Music and Free With This Month’s Issue! We Dig Music is a podcast where Ian and his friends get together to talk about what they love, music. Free With This Month’s Issue is a little more random. Taking those sampler CDs that come with music magazines, Ian and his co-hosts listen to them and discuss. It’s a mixed bag and you never know what you’re going to get!
For Massive Attack and their 1998 masterpiece Mezzanine, Ian and I knew what we were getting. One of the most melodic, atmospheric, sonically complicated, but also chill to the point of creepy, albums ever made. Mezzanine was a massive success, but the band had their doubts. It was a major departure from their previous two records, which were instrumental in setting forth the Trip Hop sound. Mezzanine was darker, less soulful, and felt like something was not quite right. There’s a feeling of paranoia, loneliness, and a little bit of anxiety, but mixed with ethereal and otherworldly vocals from Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser, and the angelic yet eerie vocals of reggae legend Horace Andy. Mezzanine, simply put, is an album that could have come out today and few would have known the difference. It’s that well made.
Ian and I discuss the tense making of this album, how this album makes us both feel when we listen to it, and how for a band known for making Trip Hop mixed with R&B and Soul, this was a step in a new direction, and it was one that both exhausted the band, but also brought them to a new level.