The title track from Massive Attack's second album, which arrived four years after their debut, "Protection" is a beautiful, mid-tempo song which places the band firmly in the middle of the trip-hop genre they created.
With the abrupt departure of Shara Nelson in the aftermath of Blue Lines, the band needed to regroup to discover their future path. Mushroom, 3D, and Daddy G knew they could never replace her, nor did they want to. Instead, they chose to bring a new diversity to their sound with the addition of rotating guest vocalists; the first was Everything but the Girl's Tracy Thorn.
It was Thorn who penned the song that gave the band their album title and first single, and her sweetly organic, jazz-inflected voice was perfectly suited to the quiet, pared-down music the band placed behind it. A haunting love song, "Protection" is a subtle counterpart to the earlier "Safe From Harm" and is proof that the band was still on the right track. And while a less-inspired version can be heard on the Mad Professor's dubbed-out looking-glass remix LP No Protection, the more interesting remix -- a near-ten-minute epic by Brian Eno -- appears on the Massive Attack Singles 90/98 box set.