It has been seven long years since the last Massive Attack LP ‘100th Window’, an album that underwhelmed critics and fans alike. In reality, since two of three original members were not present (Mushroom having left and Daddy G on leave), it was more of a Del Naja (aka 3D) solo affair. With Daddy G back firmly back in the fold, Massive Attack’s new LP ‘Heligoland’ (released Feb 8th) has got to be one of the most highly anticipated albums to drop this year.
‘Girl I Love You’ sees long time collaborator Horace Andy return on vocals (he is the only guest vocalist to appear on all 5 Massive Attack LPs). Best known for providing vocals on the 1998 hit ‘Angel’, Andy’s distinctive croon has become almost intrinsic to the band’s whole sound. ‘Girl I Love You’ is certainly an improvement on last year’s ‘Splitting The Atom’ (which, incidentally, also featured Andy on vocals and will appear on ‘Heligoland’), a relatively forgettable tune compared to the band’s superior back-catalogue. This new song is as brooding and textured as you’d expect from the ‘trip-hop’ pioneers, and the great use of brass instruments provides the trademark menacing edge, an edge that has been missing on the last few releases (the evil, alarming trumpets towards the end sound almost Hitchcock-ian!).
The ‘She is Danger’ remix of ‘Girl I Love You’ is superb. Less sinister than the original, but by no means less seductive, the building bass line will stay with you long after you’ve pressed ‘stop.’ Andy’s vocals are slightly more apparent on this tune, whereas they’re left somewhat in the background on the original (intentionally so, I imagine, to help create the moody atmostphere).
All in all, the remix is a slightly more enjoyable listen. But Massive Attack don’t set out to make immediate, danceable tunes, they set out to make challenging and experimental music, and ‘Girl I Love You’ (Original Mix) is one of the best Massive Attack songs since the 90s."