ALBUM ANTI RELEASE: JUNE 25, 2001
REVIEW: JUNE 21, 2001
The greatest thing about Tricky is his effortless border-crossing ability.
A self acclaimed champion of hip hop, he has no qualms about covering Siouxsie & the Banshees songs or working with The Gravediggaz
as well as Damon Albarn. He throws anybody interesting, regardless of
style into the mix. The presence of guest artists such as Cyndi Lauper
and The Red Hot Chili Peppers on "Blowback" confirms this attitude,
and also shows a new, very different Tricky.
The gloomy, menacing, record label-hating rapper has emerged from his
dark underground headquarters on a new label, aiming for the charts with
an album shock full of actual hits! Still reeling somewhat from the shock,
I scan interviews for possible explanations. Apparently Tricky has been
suffering from a hormonal imbalance disease called Candida for a number
of years, which explains his strange moods and perhaps also his rather
boring albums during the time (and here was I thinking, it was just the
A change of diet put an end to the problem, and "Blowback",
finally after all these years, is the proper follow-up to his brilliant
debut "Maxinquaye". Well, not quite. "Blowback" is nowhere near the dark ambience
and goosebumps inducing paranoia, of what I still consider perhaps the
most important album of the nineties.
But it's a very nice sequel to "Nearly
God" (1996), another fine album teeming with guest singers like Neneh Cherry and Björk. Though one still misses Tricky's
former collaborator Martina Topley Bird, he does work wonders with many
of the singers present on "Blowback". Ed Kowalczyck of Live
sings on the first single "Evolution Revolution Love", a song
more firmly stuck in my mind than anything from the last three records.
Other obvious hits include a cover of the theme song of Wonder Woman (!)
starring John Frusciante (of TRHCP) and "Diss Never", originally
recorded with Alanis Morissette. Tricky himself doesn't make much noise,
mostly just providing the musical backing for Ambersunshower and Jamaican
toaster Hawkman, the dominating two voices on "Blowback". The
moods are generally lighter and more playful than ever before. The calmest
tracks are actually cute, if ambivalent love songs. Especially the sweet
little tune "Your Name" with Ambersunshower cooing "one
lives as two, two live as one, under the mango tree" in lullaby style. Is that a tear in my eye?