Collected (Dual Disc)

Massive Attack

Virgin, 2006

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


There are two kinds of Massive Attack listeners: the diehard fans that possess all Massive Attack records, and the others who have never heard of this band. A mere compilation album consisting of singles hardly does any justice to Massive Attack’s body of work, which although isn’t vast, has definitely been a groundbreaking force in electronic music. The single-disc version of Collected, which encompasses singles from Massive Attack’s first four regular studio albums, is probably not the best record to start for a new listener – and it’s of little value to a fan.

However, things get far more interesting with the dual-disc version. The DVD-layer of disc two, which is a collection of videos of all the singles, alone, is worth every penny paid for this set. Being a visually conscious act, Massive Attack never takes their videos casually, and there is no set of music videos more exciting and diverse than this one.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As a blessing, the CD-layer of disc two consists of unreleased tracks and other oddities. The band doesn’t treat this additional material like a dump for rejects. This disc is pretty much like a serious Massive Attack album that the band never released. The choice of songs is thoughtful, keeping in mind band zealots. There are two songs, one from each of the two movies that Massive Attack scored (that could’ve technically been included on disc one but prudently weren’t) – the title tracks from Danny The Dog and Bullet Boy – which are rather ambient in nature and something that only a fan would appreciate.

Scattered throughout the record are remixes, which are more like alternate takes: “Incantations” (a laidback and dreamier version of “Everywhen” from 100th Window), “Black Melt” (a shorter, grittier version of “Black Milk” from Mezzanine), and “Small Time Shoot ‘Em Up” (a version of “Small Time Shot away” from 100th Window with altered, more tense beats), all of which are superb originals in their own right.

Just like the usual Massive Attack album, this one too features guest singers – “Incantations” featuring Horace Andy, “Silent Spring” and “Black Melt” featuring Elizabeth Fraser, “I Against I” featuring Mos Def – in addition to the ones sung by the band members, mainly Robert Del Naja (“False Flags” and “Small Time Shoot ‘Em Up”). The biggest surprise of the second disc (that could have been a strong selling-point for the single-disc version of Collected had it been included there instead of here) is the track “I Want You,” featuring Madonna, which also appears on her 1995 ballads compilation album Something To Remember.

Being a compilation album with more than just a “new song” to offer, Collected might just be the only “greatest hits” record geared more to the diehard fans than to the accidental listener.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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