Massive Attack’s Teardrop: beyond the meaning of the lyrics

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If there are modern lyrics able to express the mysticism of a night of rituals and oracles, it’s definitely Massive Attack’s Teardrop, taken from their album Mezzanine, 1998.

A song that tries to tell us the story of a woman in a dark and mysterious night of passionate delirium, who seeks oracles about love.

And she gets an answer. From Massive Attack, the pioneers of trip hop, a genre that goes beyond any framing, refusing to belong or relate to any other music genre. An approach able to bring new elements, taking inspiration from a large set of predecessors, from jazz, to electronic music, to rock.

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word

The start is like a pulse, similar to a heartbeat. It determines the rhythm where the melodic line jumps in, metallic and enigmatic, followed by those slow notes. Like a pendulum, a clock that introduces a story to us.

The solemnity is palpable, as if time stopped for a moment, in order to make room for a concept, an explanation.

Massive Attack are trying to tell us what love is.

Teardrop on fire

The beat of the song shows perfectly the fragility of such an ethereal concept like love. Fragile like the crystal of a teardrop, powerful like a drop that falls into the fire.

Love is a doing word. And the song is an act of impulse, the beat comes from our heart and it’s just meant to express the feeling: breath, heartbeat, action, then life.

The teardrop is staticity, the action is the beat.

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Of a confession

This is the night if the delirium. In this dreamlike room we picture scenes of introspective feelings illuminated by fires of passion.

A fire that burns, questions burning a breathing chest, affecting its beat.

The water mirror has nothing to say. It reflects the face in confession, in a melody which is dark and enlightening at the same time. A melody able to reach our most mysterious depths and bring to light our essence.

Night, night of matter
Black flowers blossom

Elisabeth Fraser, Scottish voice, echoes the sensations produced by this room of solemn riddles. She backs up the rhythmic syncopes that mark the time. And this is the time when Massive Attack have questions for us.

Then the room fades out over the sound of the last notes. The prayer announces the end of the delirium, the physical exhaustion that defines the end of the prophecy.

The time of the riddles is over, the myth of Teardrop has fulfilled itself.
The echo of love is inside our chest, in the beat of our breath.

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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