Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unfinished Sympathy

No matter what history’s final judgement on that gauzy genre of popular music called trip-hop might be, there is no denying that its standard bearers Massive Attack remain one of the more innovative and groundbreaking acts in late-century British rock. One of Massive Attack's, and by virtue, trip-hop's signature tracks is the awe-inspiring 'Unfinished Sympathy' from 1991, the key single off the Bristol collective's phenomenal debut album 'Blue Lines', which has constantly been voted into 'best of' lists, even right up to the present day. This superlative opus features a superb, emotional vocal turn from British soul diva Shara Nelson, which drifts effortlessly above a majestic, elegant sheen of sweeping orchestral strings, offset by a inherent, streetwise hip-hop attitude, as embodied in a lockstep drum cadence and some subtle turntable scratching. Check out the revolutionary video clip, one of the earliest promos to make use of the continuous-shot concept, filmed at a gritty area running along West Pico Boulevard, and featuring an array of downtown Los Angeles-specific low-lifes.


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