The modern playlist is the descendant of the mix tape. And like my mix tapes, I make a significant effort to make sure they are right—and by right, I mean that there is a certain cohesion and shared texture that moves me. What I love about digital versus tape is the great flexibility for experimentation (though, sometimes I do miss walking around Manhattan with my old yellow cassette Sports Walkman).
Massive Attack are an English electronic band that was formed in 1988 by Robert “3D” Del Naja, Adrian “Tricky” Thaws, Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall. The band currently consists of Del Naja, Thaws and Marshall. The band first came to my attention in 1991 when I was in Tower Records and I heard their first masterpiece, “Unfinished Sympathy”, playing over the loudspeakers. To date, they have released five studio albums, but don’t seem to be well known in the United States. They should be. They have a superb body of work. Over the last 30 plus years, they have collaborated with various singers including Madonna, David Bowie, Tracey Thorn of Everything but the Girl and Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star.
Mazzy Star are an American alternative rock band that also formed in 1988. Founding member David Roback recruited Hope Sandoval after the group’s original vocalist left the band, which was once called Opal. Mazzy Star came to my attention because of their 1994 hit, the absolutely gorgeous and unforgettable masterpiece, “Fade into You.” Too often, Mazzy Star has been unfairly characterized as a “one hit wonder.” The fact is they too have a superb body of work consisting of four albums and one EP. Sadly, we may never hear more from them again because David Roback passed away in February of 2020. Hope Sandoval, in addition to being the vocalist for Mazzy Star, is also the vocalist for the alternative, dream pop band Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, which she formed with Colm Ó Cíosóig of My Bloody Valentine. To date, they have released three albums, all of which are nothing short of magnificent.
I loved all three bands individually and while Massive Attack have collaborated with various singers over the years, it never occurred to me that they could or should work with Hope Sandoval. Madonna and David Bowie made sense. Personally, I characterize Mazzy Star’s music as southwestern alternative (some of their songs remind me of New Mexico, don’t ask me to explain but when I play “Fade into You” I imagine driving along US-550), but Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions has a greater connection Massive Attack. Regardless, their collaborations were surprising and inspired. My hope is that one day Massive Attack and Hope Sandoval collaborate for an entire album. This playlist brings together their collaborations as well as what I consider to be the best from their respective catalogs. Of course, the challenge here was achieving that cohesion I noted above—but I think I did it! Let me know what you think!
I have provided YouTube links for my absolutely favorite songs.
“Paradise Circus” – Massive Attack with Hope Sandoval, from the album Heligoland.
“Protection” – Massive Attack with Tracey Thorn, from the album Protection.
“Unfinished Sympathy” – Massive Attack with Shara Nelson, from the album Blue Lines.
“Blue Light” – Mazzy Star, from the album So Tonight That I Might See.
“The Spoils” – Massive Attack with Hope Sandoval
“Fade into You” – Mazzy Star, from the album So Tonight That I Might See.
“Five String Serenade” – Mazzy Star, from the album So Tonight That I Might See.
“California” – Mazzy Star, from the album Seasons of Your Day.
“Disappear” – Mazzy Star, from the album Among My Swan.
“Into Dust” – Mazzy Star, from the album So Tonight That I Might See.
“Quiet, The Winter Harbor” – Mazzy Star, from the EP Still.
“So Tonight I Might See” – Mazzy Star, from the album So Tonight That I Might See.
“Blue Flower” – Mazzy Star, from the album She Hangs Brightly.
“Future Proof” – Massive Attack, from the album 100th Window.
“Inertia Creeps” – Massive Attack, from the album Mezzanine.
“Nature Boy” – Massive Attack with David Bowie, from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
“Karmacoma” – Massive Attack, from the album Protection.
“Teardrop” – Massive Attack, from the album Mezzanine.
“Drop” – Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, from the album Bavarian Fruit Bread.
“The Peasant” Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, from the album Until the Hunter.
“Into the Trees” Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, from the album Until the Hunter.
“Butterfly Caught” – Massive Attack, from the album 100th Window.
If you have your playlists so that they play on a constant loop when they end, this one works beautifully in that way.