Mixed Bag

As a starting comment, the rapidity of pop culuture is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with. The whole thing lends itself to hyperbole.

Massive Attack are a British outfit and early contributors to the idea of trip hop. As such, right or wrong, they have their own provenance. Truly, some of their singles are pivotal pop soundtracks, but looking back at them over 10 years or more, you can feel the songs getting stale. I think the vidoes actually accelerate this problem. Things can look very dated but if you only hear them, it's up to you place them chronologically. As we see in High Fidelity, some people even place music in their own biographical timeline.

So this is a very plain (the DVD is in a clear case with no booklet and no documentation) set of videos. The 'extras' bolted on to most DVDs are not present here. Many of the early videos (Daydreaming, Unfinished Sympathy, and Safe From Harm) are directed by Baillie Walsh and have very similar styles. The camera follows the lead singer in long, continuous shots. In fact, Unfinished Sympathy appears to have been done in just one shot. Nearly all of the videos feature urban decay and although popular at the end of the century, the new millenium casts a different perspective. Protection and Teardrop stand out visually. Protection is shot on a set that looks like a hotel and the camera has 360 degrees of freedom. Teardrop features a fetus that seems to sing the lyrics of the song. Delicate and disturbing.

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