Massive Attack - "Teardrop" (Singles Going Steady Classic)

by PopMatters Staff

4 November 2016

"Teardrop" is every bit as haunting and iconic today as it was 18 years ago.

Adriane Pontecorvo: It may be a veritable standard of electronic music, but the beauty of “Teardrop” is organic, evoking a single opening flower, the smell of rain and earth, everything delicate and fueled by the forces of nature. This is a song that embraces, a song that glows, a song with a steady, pulsing heartbeat beneath simple rhythms and Elizabeth Fraser’s eerily lilting vocals. Now, of course, it’s an instantly recognizable classic of downtempo, that’s likely no surprise to anyone who first heard it when it first began to hypnotize in 1998. Few songs have that same pull, and though Massive Attack has continued to release many a gem since then, none have the raw, elemental beauty of this breakthrough masterpiece. “Teardrop” is every bit as haunting and iconic today as it was 18 years ago. [10/10]

Paul Carr: The combination of deep kick and rim snare that start this ‘90s classic are as fresh as the first day of their release. It transcends the band’s simplistic labeling as trip-hop pioneers. In one fell swoop, the band managed to blur the boundaries of genre to create a timeless masterpiece. Few bands are as adept at painting with such large swathes of light and dark. They daub the dark rhythms with the ethereal and emotional vocals of Elizabeth Fraser. In many respects, it shouldn’t work. It should collapse under the weight of its own ambition. The fact it does is due to the coming together of two musical mavericks throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the vision. They left an everlasting dent in popular music that’s immense shadow looms over everything that followed it. [10/10]

Andrew Paschal: Massive Attack have a knack for hooking some of the most evocative guest vocalists in alternative music, and Elizabeth Fraser’s turn on 1998’s “Teardrop” is no exception. Her voice glistens with the rawness of dew, like light refracting through the titular teardrop itself. The lyrical references to night and to “black flowers” may suggest otherwise, but the music to me sounds far more evocative of dawn, the harpsichord and piano locked in a ritualistic dance to summon up the sun, inch by inch. The song remains gorgeously vital and mysterious even after all these years. [10/10]

SCORE: 10.00

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