If you are relatively new to the world of trip hop music, then here is a small list of five best trip hop songs that are widely considered as classics. While conveying the character and stylistic origins of such electronic music genre, those songs have also been successful on international charts. The artists and bands behind those have played an important role in the development of trip hop music.
1. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
Featured on Massive Attack’s debut album “Blue Lines”, “Unfinished Sympathy” is often considered to be the song which constituted the beginning of the trip hop genre. What made it one of the best trip hop songs, was its new and fresh approach, which combined acoustic instruments with electronic music techniques. “Unfinished Sympathy” also stood out for its original music video, which was entirely made of one uninterrupted take.
2. Portishead – Glory Box
Starting with a laid back hip hop beat and colourful strings, “Glory Box” presents the inner dialogue of a woman, who is willing to love again, but is fearful of getting hurt at the same time. In addition to the unmasked and sincere words, the singer Beth Gibbons’s voice delivers nuances and details that strengthen the emotional depth of the song furthermore. The forceful guitar solo complements the vocally intense message, while making the instrumentation sound more organic.
3. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
DJ Shadow is known for his talent of mixing together samples from various artists and music styles. He has the ability to combine seamlessly loops from hip hop, jazz, classic music, and electronica, arranging them into one harmonious whole. The single “Midnight In A Perfect World” is not an exception, for it layers a considerable dose of carefully selected chillout grooves and melodies, ensuring that the song will haunt you for a while after you have listened to it.
4. Tricky – Aftermath
This classic tune is partly built around a catchy guitar riff, which was taken from a song “That’s The Way Love Is” by Marvin Gaye. The sturdy drum beat and sparse flute samples induce relaxation, while the sudden heavy guitar motive and faint vocals add some eeriness to the overall mood. This delicate combination of serenity and subtle tension is probably one key element that has caused Tricky’s “Aftermath” to be one of the best trip hop songs of all time.
5. Massive Attack – Teardrop
“Teardrop” features Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser, who provides her soft and melodious vocals to the mellow and sublime background. Quiet harpsichord riff and a soft drum loop, alongside with dark piano chords, paint a quiet picture of sorrow and melancholic beauty. In addition to being one of the best trip hop songs, “Teardrop” is also known as the theme song of an American medical television drama “House”.