Tricky - "Blowback"

Tricky is back and this time he is really back. From what?...Well only he knows as supposedly he has been suffering from a rare disease that affects his immune system. Well this condition has affected him psychologically as well. Well "fortunately" he has discovered a way to control this ailment of his and he is on a strict diet through a new doctor and he is better than ever.

Now bringing this may be thinking, "Why is he telling me this?" Tricky's music has been fed by a certain creative insanity, which has never been heard before. His depression and unpredictable moods caused him to release very different styles of music.

After his glorious debut "Maxinque" back in 1995, which put Trip-Hop into the minds of all audiophiles, Tricky has been on a weird rollercoaster.

From his relationship with Bjork to his hatred towards Polygram records Tricky has never shied away from controversy. As the years went by...he began to despise the mainstream more and more his releases became more and more challenging to listen to. Unknown to most...he was battling inner demons.

Fast forward to 2001...Tricky is feeling good about his life for once...and he releases the album he says, "they thought I would never make" with Blowback. Is the world ready for the new Tricky? This jaded Tricky fan who regards "Angels with Dirty Faces" as a brilliant album while others laugh at his inept ability to judge music... Tries to review this album in an unbiased fashion.

This album is his first on Hollywood records after his war with Polygram, in which he accused the label of being racist. For more information on what Tricky thinks of that fine label consult the track "Divine Comedy" from the "Mission Accomplished EP."

Blowback shows Tricky in an unfamiliar light. Unlike his earlier works, this album contains more than one or 2 songs which can be played on the radio. The opening track "Excess" features a suprisingly good Alanis Morrisette providing back-up vocals. The first single off the album "Evolution Revolution Love" features Ed Kowalczyk (yes the frontman for Live) and a newcomer named Hawkman who sings with a deep reggae influenced style.

One of the only bad songs on the album is the third track entitled "Over Me" which features Hawkman and a female vocalist I am unfamiliar with named Ambersunshower. This song has no vocals by Tricky at all and is very short...Amber's input in the song is fairly annoying. After the low on the album...The next track "Girls" brings the album back up.

A rarity in a Tricky song...a song written by someone other than Tricky himself. Red Hot Chili Pepper singer Anthony Kiedis wrote and sings on this track. Myself being a Chili Pepper worshipper was left slack-jawed after hearing the amazing voice of Kiedis. Other listeners will bob their head in tune with the catchy song, which is very radio friendly...Anthony Kiedis is an amazing songwriter, and although an odd guest on a Tricky album...a welcome one indeed. John Frusciante (Chili Pepper Guitarist) provides the guitar on the track. The Chili Peppers make another appearance on the album in the track aptly named "#1 Da Woman" (Wonderwoman). Is the hyper theme song from the Wonder Woman show from the 70's. John Frusciante appears again, along with Flea on bass. Frusciante provides vocals along with Tricky on the very funky song.

Of all the tracks on the album, the best track with relative unknowns is "Your Name" with Ambersunshower on vocals...this track is mellow and reminds me of Bjork's contribution in past album. For some reason her voice was annoying on another track yet very pleasant on this one. This song is somewhat spooky as it is a positive song, but has a weird vibe to it which needs to be heard to be understood. One last song that needs mention is "Five Days" featuring none other than Cyndi Lauper. (Along with all the other guests I am puzzled but Tricky is weird like that) Well the result of Lauper + Tricky = A great voice and a descent track...but nevertheless a track which is typical of Tricky (trippy vocals with an ever present spooky vibe) and nothing totally different from other songs on his album...sadly Lauper guests on a fairly forgettable track on this album... This album is not a perfect album and is flawed in a few ways. It doesn't know whether it is a radio-friendly or a standard bizarre Tricky release.

While it has some weird messed up seems to be low on the Tricky factor (insane-near unbearably maddening music) Besides "Your Name" (which in my opinion is the best track on the album not counting the Peppers help) most of the songs may leave the casual listener drowsy. For the rest of us Tricky die-hards...we are in heaven...but we are in the minority.

The radioplays "Evolution Revolution Love" and radio readies...such as "Girls" and "#1 Da Woman" are simply delicious. In terms of releases this year, I cannot find a better trio of radio-plays on one album (shut-up I know you are disagreeing with me...).

Meanwhile I'll stop blabbing... This album is the most accessible album in the Tricky catalog (read: ear friendly). Yet die-hards may be slightly dissapointed...All in all a good release and in my top five for albums of 2001 (the year is young okay????)!

--S. Chyba, Chicago -

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