a guest posting from strictly rockers


You’re A Boy… And I’m A Girl’:

A Massive Attack Imaginary Compilation Album In Two Parts

Part Two: ‘… And I’m A Girl’

01) Safe From Harm w/ Shara Nelson (From Blue Lines, 1991)

Spine-tingling. With opening atmospherics reminiscent of The Special’s ‘Ghost Town’, that bassline from Billy Cobham’s ‘Stratus’ and stunning vocal from Shara, this track fuels Richard King’s journey through Bristol in his excellent ‘Original Rockers’ book. ‘I was lookin’ back to see if you were looking’ back at me to see me looking’ back at you’

02) Paradise Circus w/ Hope Sandoval (From Heligoland, 2010)

A majestic vocal from the Mazzy Star vocalist. Once again, neither party met each other until after the recording. It features a drum sample from Nina Simone’s ‘See Line Woman’ and was used as the theme to BBC1’s ‘Luther’. Also available in excellent Gui Boratto and super-extended Burial mixes.

03) Three w/ Nicolette (From Protection, 1994)

Great vocals from the singer described as ‘Billie Holiday on acid’. Almost tempted to include Mad Professor’s bubbling’ ‘Trinity Dub’ version.

04) Better Things w/ Tracey Thorn (From Protection, 1994)

In my mind, far superior to ‘Protection’. ‘You say the magic’s gone. Well i’m not a magician. You say the spark’s gone. Well get an electrician’ Just genius!

05) Group Four w/ Elizabeth Fraser (From Mezzanine, 1998)

Equal to, if not better than ‘Teardrop’ from Massive Attack’s most successful album. Often stretched out live as a storming set-closer.

06) Babel w/ Martina Topley-Bird (From Heligoland, 2010)

A ‘teenage love song’ from Tricky’s Mercury Prize nominated Maxinquaye muse.

07) What Yr Soul Sings w/ Sinead O’Connor (From 100th Window, 2003)

Soaring. Heavenly. One of three Sinead tracks on 100th Window. I could have picked any of ’em.

08) Endtrack (Dissolved Girl) w/ Sara Jay (Download, 1997)

Featuring a previously unknown singer from Sheffield who toured with MA. This is an early demo version of ‘Dissolved Girl’ as heard as part of ‘The Jackal’ soundtrack. Later re-recorded as part of Mezzanine.

09) Aftersun w/ Dot Allison (Download, 2005)

Former One Dove singer and MA live vocalist on this powerful song tucked away as the credits roll on ‘Danny The Dog’. Shamefully omitted from the soundtrack album and only available as digital release from

10) Unfinished Sympathy w/ Shara Nelson (Single, 1991)

Just magnificent. Officially voted the 63rd greatest song of all time in NME poll! The second appearance of Shara Nelson in this compilation with that sweeping orchestration arranged by Will Malone and recorded at Abbey Road. Mrs Rockers says, that if forced, she would pick this as ‘our tune’. Sweet eh? (We’ll just gloss over the atrocious Tina Turner cover from 1996)

(Big Name Bonus) I Want You w/ Madonna (From Something To Remember, 1995)

Huge-sounding production as Madonna & Massive Attack take on the mighty Marvin. Vocals recorded in New York with 3D before returning to Bristol. She was so impressed with the results that it became the lead single from her ‘Something To Remember’ album. Rumour has it that the backing tracks were originally intended for Chaka Khan.


BONUS………………………Boys vs Girls EP

Massive Attack Remixes, Remixed & Covered


1) Protection (Eno Mix) Massive Attack (Single, 1994)

I couldn’t NOT include this, the song that gives this ICA it’s title. Mr Ambient does what he does best and stretches this atmospheric beauty to over 9 minutes.

2) Teardrop (Mad Professor Mazaruni Dub) Massive Attack (Single, 1998)

The Prof’s laid back dub somehow makes the vocal even more powerful by reducing it to its most basic elements.

3) Musst Musst (Massive Attack Duck Pond Dub) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Single, 1990)

As featured on Daddy G’s excellent DJ Kicks mix. He called it ‘the most enjoyable remix we’ve ever done.’

4) Manchild (Massive Attack Remix) Neneh Cherry (Remix 12″, 1989)

Stripped-down, minimal mix of the single co-written by 3D. ‘Remix… Massive Attack’

5) Live With Me Twilight Singers (From A Stitch In Time EP, 2006)

Greg Dulli & Mark Lanegan take the original to a much darker place.

6) Unfinished Sympathy Maxene Cyrin (From Modern Rhapsodies, 2005)

Simple, effective & delicate. Reduces the original to a bare minimum. Just beautiful.

JC adds……

I’ll sign off with the TVV word of the week.




  1. Never been a huge Massive Attack fan, but so impressed with the quality of these comps, I could well start digging deeper into their back cat. Great concept for an ICA too.

  2. It’s all in there – from Unfinished Sympathy – the greatest song of the 90’s (yeah, I went there, I’ll defend it…) to After Sun and both of the tour de forces with Tracey Thorn, this is some exciting and compelling music. I think the women bring it. Finally, kudos for the nerve to include I Want You – one of Madonna’s best moment thanks to some inspired pairing with Massive Attack.

  3. Great selection – I also like Eurochild from Protection and the Paul Oakenfold remix of Unfinished Sympathy..

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