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Juxtapose
     

Juxtapose

by Tricky
 

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Has pop ever produced a nightcrawler as straight-up tweaked as Tricky? Okay, maybe his side-rapper -- the thousand-words-per-minute-spewing hip-hop hobgoblin, Street Dog -- comes close, but that's debatable. Since departing from Massive Attack to release his trip-hop classic, MAXINQUAYE, in 1995, the poshboy/B-boy with the sandpaper voice

Overview

Has pop ever produced a nightcrawler as straight-up tweaked as Tricky? Okay, maybe his side-rapper -- the thousand-words-per-minute-spewing hip-hop hobgoblin, Street Dog -- comes close, but that's debatable. Since departing from Massive Attack to release his trip-hop classic, MAXINQUAYE, in 1995, the poshboy/B-boy with the sandpaper voice has sunk deeper into the cracks of that record's sound and farther into his own beautifully jaded psyche. Last year's ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES was a caldron of turgid live instrumentation and some of Tricky's most caustic mike work to date. JUXTAPOSE sees him team up with Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs and DMX trackmaster Dame Grease for a weird, skeletal noir-hop mix that can be hellishly frantic (the pornographic "I Like the Girls") and evanescently pretty (the airy, sultry diva-driven "Call Me"). Yet, if the evocative, acoustic-guitar rock of "For Real" is a sonic departure, most of JUXTAPOSE presents Tricky ingeniously balancing his pop notions and vitriolic energy. It might alienate the masses, but it'll feel comfortable to anyone who's happily done time in the Trixter's dubbed-out dungeon.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Tricky's potential once seemed boundless, but by the time of his fifth album, Juxtapose, he hadn't expanded his trademark sound: a creeping, menacing blend of hip-hop, alternative rock, and ragga, all delivered with stoned paranoia. Perhaps Tricky realized that its rewards were smaller with each subsequent album, since he designed Juxtapose to be his most ambitious, eclectic album since Maxinquaye, and the one that finally broke him to the mainstream American hip-hop audience. So, he teamed with DJ Muggs (the architect of Cypress Hill's sound, a clear precedent for Tricky's) and DMX's producer, Grease. The end result is hardly a collaboration -- in fact, it feels truncated, weighing in at a mere 35 minutes -- but it works in other ways, since Tricky often seems revitalized. That much is evident on the stellar opening cut, "For Real"; the music is spaced-out, sexy, melodic, and appealing, even when it gets foreboding. It's a terrific beginning, suggesting that this will be the first album to offer significant variations on Tricky's signature sound. And it does, but it may not go far enough for some tastes, since a good portion of this brief album is devoted to retreads, which reveal his weaknesses all too well. Tricky remains unduly infatuated with ragga, letting British toaster Mad Dog run wild; his frenetic delivery single-handedly breaks the spell of each track he's featured on. But elsewhere, Tricky pushes forward in inventive ways that add weight to Juxtapose -- "Contradictive" is his best pop move to date, blessed by Spanish guitars and elongated strings; the paranoid drums of "She Said" successfully deepen the menace; and "Scrappy Love" is a haunting blend of soul and trip-hop, with eerie piano reminiscent of DJ Shadow. Juxtapose is a qualified success, but it is a success since the moments that work are his best in years.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/17/1999
Label:
Polygram Records
UPC:
0731454643221
catalogNumber:
546432

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