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3.0 1
by Tricky
Tricky's campaign to alienate the huge fan base he garnered through trip-hop templates such as Maxinquaye seems to be at an end. After ever more elliptical albums, from the desperate Pre-Millennium Tension to the downright bitchy Angels with Dirty


Tricky's campaign to alienate the huge fan base he garnered through trip-hop templates such as Maxinquaye seems to be at an end. After ever more elliptical albums, from the desperate Pre-Millennium Tension to the downright bitchy Angels with Dirty Faces -- not to mention his increasingly erratic behavior (such as a penchant for storming off stage after a song or two) -- the Tricky Kid delivers on his potential with Blowback, his most inviting, most promisingly commercial effort in years. As is his wont, Tricky gives the lion's share of mike time to his loopy Love Boat-like cast, including most of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morissette, alt-R&B vocalist Ambersunshower, Live's Ed Kowalczyk, dancehall DJ Hawkman, and Cyndi Lauper (!). Hovering over the tracks like a malevolent angel, Tricky delivers incisive non sequiturs in a growl that Miles Davis would envy, painting a familiar picture of urban desperation and ruined families -- on the throbbing opener, "Excess," his rasps are evenly countered by Morissette's cooing counter-vocals. Musically, he splits the difference between Angels's live instrumentation and Juxtapose's hip-hop beats. Peppers Keidis, Flea, and Frusciante turn every track they're on into a Red Hots jam, especially "Wonder Woman," a kitschy rewrite of the theme to the '70s TV show. But Tricky's skillful deployment of the singers holds the album together, shaping a song cycle of love's losers and also-rans. In place of the paranoia evinced on Pre-Millennium are touchingly beautiful moments, including the unlikely ragga ballad "Diss Never (Dig Up We History)," featuring the Bounty Killa sound-alike Hawkman (who also handles a cover of Nirvana's "Something in the Way"). Granted, Tricky loses steam by the end of the disc, indulging in the martial ragga of "Give It to 'Em" and the plodding Japanese spoken-word "A Song for Yukiko." But by moderating the claustrophobia with wanky synths and even a sweet melody here and there, he earns back some of his genius accolades. Blowback is an album whose naked intelligence for once isn't sabotaged in a welter of darkness and snarl.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
First, the bad news. There are no new tricks on BlowBack, the star-studded 2001 comeback by Tricky, the pioneering trip-hopper that wandered his way into the wilderness. He wandered so far that nobody really cared anymore if he had anything to say -- particularly because he wound up saying the same thing, slightly differently, over and over again. He doesn't escape from this problem here, yet he's found a map -- and that map is craft. He knew this before, since the best moments of Angels With Dirty Faces and Juxtapose were when he knew how to spin his signatures just right, so they jelled into something brilliant. He has the same gift here, and he extends it throughout the record, so this is the first record that really plays smoothly from start to finish since Pre-Millennium Tension. That, of course, isn't the same thing as being as good, since he has ceased to innovate, and he has a couple of annoying flaws, including his tendency to create one mood and sustain it without developing it, plus his love of dancehall toasting. The thing is, for all of his genius, Tricky doesn't really have the greatest taste in the world. Yes, he's worked with Björk and PJ Harvey, but he's also brought Bush into the studio, and here Live's Ed Kowalczyk, three members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Cyndi Lauper all contribute sonic coloring. The genius of Tricky is, he knows how to pull out the best in such unlikely collaborators, making it sound like a natural extension of his work. Then again, it could just be that John Frusciante and Flea know "Brand New You're Retro" so well, it's easy to turn it out again on "Wonder Woman." So, it's a mixed bag, but it plays sharper than his albums of late. Yes, there are some astonishing slips -- the backing track of "Something in the Way" sounds great, but Hawkman, the ragga bane of this album, castrates it of its power -- but, at this point, that's a given with Tricky. Once you get past that, once you stop expecting genius -- or at least something that matches Maxinquaye (or even Tension) -- it's much easier to enjoy BlowBack.

Product Details

Release Date:
Hollywood Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tricky   Primary Artist
Cyndi Lauper   Vocals
Flea   Bass
John Frusciante   Guitar,Vocals
Anthony Kiedis   Vocals
Ed Kowalczyk   Vocals
Perry Melius   Drums
Jamie Muhoberac   Piano
Tim Pierce   Bass,Guitar
Marty Rifkin   Guitar
Yukihiro Takahashi   Vocals
Alanis Morissette   Vocals
Rob Cavallo   Piano
Stephanie McKay   Vocals
Ambersunshower   Vocals
Mikio Endo   Piano

Technical Credits

Nirvana   Composer
Daniel Chase   Engineer
Kurt Cobain   Composer
Greg Goldman   Engineer
Yukihiro Takahashi   translation
Tricky   Producer
Rob Cavallo   Arranger,Executive Producer
Ron A. Shaffer   Engineer
James Banbury   Engineer
Joe Zook   Engineer
Mikio Endo   Programming

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BlowBack 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago