Tricky
Pre-Millenium Tension


4.0
excellent

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (91 Reviews)
June 11th, 2009 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tricky pushes away his fans from the traditional dark, brooding atmosphere of ‘Maxinquaye’. Instead he looks towards other influences to meld another excellent outing of layered soundscapes and different approaches.

Looking at it now, Tricky’s 3rd album entitled ’Pre-Millenium Tension’ is another evolution of his sound in some ways. Although Tricky will never reach the summit he had already created with his debut masterpiece ’Maxinquaye’, it is obvious he loves to change directions. Even if the general atmosphere is consistent, his use of other artists, general lack of flow in some songs, and more or less his “rapping” abilities all add a distinct unique property to most of his albums. Tricky’s second studio album came the same year his side-project effort ’Nearly God was unleashed, which to him was “a collection of brilliant demos”. Some may say otherwise, but the majority agree it has a distinct presence ingrained in the album, something entirely different than ’Maxinquaye’.

Tricky’s surplus of contributing artist on ’Nearly God’ like Bjork and at one time Blur’s Damon Albarn (was later removed). It becomes obvious as Tricky’s career moves on that his taste for a main vocalist is lost in his production. He enjoys rambling, cutting through the tracks with his raspy voice accompanying another vocalist with eclectic trip-hop atmospheres. The usual female vocalist that accompanied him in ’Maxinquaye’ (Martina Topley-Bird) joins in with Tricky on this extremely inaccessible album to many outsiders. If ’Nearly God’ showed his limitless direction (some of which was an entirely different mash-up of songs from ’Maxinquaye) then ’Pre-Millenium Tension shows the difficulties to embrace his style in full.

Some people say that Tricky has never replicated the dark and brooding atmosphere that is drenched within ’Maxinquaye’ but, it has become painfully obvious he has tried to stray from it. That debut album that everyone hails has become the epitome for a clear-cut trip-hop album, a mere opposite of the hopeful and lighter Massive Attack’s sound (pre-Mezzanine). Tricky’s attempts to stray from this sound have been for the most part successful. ’Pre-Millenium Tension immediately brings its previous statements known. Edgy, abrasive, loud with striking vocal character, Tricky leads on as Martina Topley-Bird cuts in halfway. In a way “Vent” is exactly what Tricky has been feeling from the media overseas, dubbed the ‘King of Trip-Hop’ in only one album it carries much baggage to an already paranoid Tricky. If there ever was a reason to enjoy Pre-Millenium Tension is the direction he takes. “Christiansands” is insanely addictive, from the simple guitar rhythm to the laid-back feel of Topley-Bird’s contribution to Tricky’s main verses. Previously it would be difficult to cite more than a few examples of Tricky leading the charge (and that stays true), but “Christiansands” really works to perfection for Tricky.

In a way this album really involves more traditional hip-hop and Rastafarian influences than trip-hop. It could be said the atmospheres and electronic surroundings that carousal with Tricky’s verses it substantial enough, but it’s something entirely different from his previous work. “Tricky Kid”, like “Christiansands” is another example of his attempt to throw another fast one by his fans, which does for the most part. “Tricky Kid” doesn’t work nearly as well as “Christiansands” mainly because of Tricky’s shortsighted lyrical content (extreme Rastafarian references all over) in the song and mainly the repetitive nature it exhibits. For all the crushing attempts that Tricky goes towards his own version of trip-hop it seems his production is always on-point. “Christiansands”, “Bad Dreams”, “Makes Me Wanna Die”, “Sex Drive”, “Bad Things”, and “Lyrics of Fury” all shows us his talent doesn’t necessarily hinge lyrically. Not only that, but Martina is suffocating in flow with her fusion with Tricky’s masterful beats from the spaceless “Bad Dreams” or gut wrenching “Makes Me Wanna Die”. Even if Tricky’s attempts for the most part meld with Rastafarian culture (heavily influenced in “Tricky Kid” and “Ghetto Youth”) in a hyper speed for us to appreciate it becomes obvious under all the references and overpowering atmosphere that ’Pre-Millennium Tension’ brings – it has lasting power, much like his debut.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 11th 2009


16927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. The only song from here I really like is "Makes Me Want to Die". The rest are ok, but if I want to listen to Tricky it's definitely going to be Maxinquaye.

MassiveAttack
June 11th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, of course just like any artist you'd give them their greatest work. I just feel like he takes so much flak for not reverting to that style. Which, frankly I can't stand. You can't expect that from any artist if you want him to grow. This album is really varied compared to his debut. Some tracks that are really Rastafarian based like "Tricky Kid" and "Ghetto Youth" are terrible to be honest. Others are fantastic. It's just to bad he fell off with 'Blowback' and 'Vulnerable'. 'Knowle West Boy' was OK, a new sense of direction since it's a lot lighter than his previous material. I remember reviewing it for a 3.5. I just listened to it again and I'd say its a 3. I'll be reviewing 'Blowback' tomorrow. I haven't listened to that album in forever. Oh and his follow-up 'Angels With Dirty Faces' is excellent if you haven't listened to that. I really enjoyed reviewing this album, I think its my best so far.

Willie
Moderator
June 11th 2009


16927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No, I stopped getting his albums after this one. I don't expect him to to revert to any style or to remain musically stagnate, but I also can't be expected to grow with an artist if my heart lies in an older style.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2009


11376 Comments


good stuff!

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years

MassiveAttack
June 11th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OK, then you really need to get 'Angels With Dirty Faces'. I think it was his last relevant album to be honest.





Just give him another chance! =)



Thanks klap!





Willie
Moderator
June 11th 2009


16927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ok, for you I will.

MassiveAttack
June 11th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alright sounds good sir!

aok
July 21st 2011


4500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they used to call me tricky kid. i lived the life they wished they did. lived the life, don't own a car. and now they call me superstar



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