My pre-ordered copy of Collected (Special Edition), the new Massive Attack “best of” album, arrived today.

By the time it arrived, I knew exactly what to expect thanks to the Collected teaser website, which had been incrementally releasing more and more of the album’s content over the space of some months.

Since this is a “greatest hits” compilation and I already have all of the band’s other albums, the main CD has only one new track for me: “Live With Me,” a melancholy ballad with vocals by Terry Callier. The rest of the tracks are largely what I’d expect — all of the classics are there (Unfinished Sympathy, Protection, Teardrop etc.), although inevitably a few of my favourite tracks were passed over due to space limitations.

The main reason I bought this album, however, is for the bonus disc that comes with the Special Edition version; it’s a double-sided disc with CD audio on one side, and DVD video on the other. The CD layer contains 11 “new” tracks, although there are only a few tracks that are actually genuinely new — most of them are essentially remixes of older tracks. But they are all still very good nonetheless.

The DVD side contains 16 music videos by Massive Attack. Again, I have most of these already on the “Eleven Promos” DVD (the new disc even uses the same menu interface). However, the Collected bonus disc includes five videos that are not featured on Eleven Promos: Special Cases, Butterfly Caught, Live With Me (two different versions) and False Flags.

Collected is packaged beautifully, resembling a small hardback book with pockets for the discs and 24 pages of glossy artwork from the previous four albums.

This is definitely a great introduction to one of my all-time favourite bands. If you’ve been meaning to investigate Massive Attack but didn’t know where to start, this would be a great way to get a broad overview of their best work quickly and economically. And if you’re a fan that already owns all their albums already, there’s enough new material to make this worth purchasing anyway. I recommend it without hesitation:

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