Since the very dawn of Rock and Roll, music and cars have been inextricably linked. From Eddie Cochran’s mean old Pop denying him the use of his car in ‘Summertime Blues’ to Prince judging a partner’s likely fidelity by the way she parks her ‘Little Red Corvette’ and every Bruce Springsteen track in between, the automobile has loomed large in the world of recorded popular music.
Whenever I'm thinking about changing my car I tend to consider the following parameters;
- How good is the ‘stereo’ (I still tend to call it a car ‘stereo’ even though there are always more than just two speakers now!)
- How ‘cool’ does the car look
- How fast does it go
- How economical will it be
I would always rather have an ugly car with a good ‘stereo’ than a beautiful car with a poor ‘stereo’. Whenever a beautiful car goes thundering by I like to imagine that the driver is listening to Simply Red.
On assuming ownership of a new car it’s always vitally important that the sound system is christened with something very special. I’ve only ever had two brand new cars in my life (I’ve had quite a lot of old ones though!), and, while awaiting delivery of my first brand new motor in 1998 I had a new cassette burning a hole in my pocket.
The cassette in question was Massive Attack’s ‘Mezzanine’ and it’s our cassette of the day today.
I didn’t know it at the time (because I’d never heard it before), but ‘Mezzanine’ turned out to be one of the greatest car ‘stereo’ testing albums ever made. All thundering bass lines and walloping drums, it’s dominated by the soaring ‘Tear drop’ (if you’ve got Elizabeth Fraser it’s very difficult to go wrong). There isn’t a track on the album that dips below the 7 out of 10 mark – and there isn’t a track on side 1 that ever comes close to dipping below an 8.
It’s one of the most stunning side 1s ever – opening with the six minute superbness of ‘Angel’, which runs ‘Tear drop’ a very close race for the album’s best tune. ‘Angel’ wobbles the speakers in your car like very few others can. ‘Inertia creeps’ is also deserving of a mention, with its inventive and seductive sleazy tone.
The insert states;
‘Sampled – The Cure, Velvet Underground, Isaac Hayes and John Holt’
Pretty much as good a sample line-up as you could wish for.
Mezzanine is, literally, on another level.
Label – Circa Records Ltd
Year – 1998*
*So far, I’ve only found one more recent cassette in my collection – and we’ll be listening to it in the next few days.
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