Home Read Classic Album Review: Tricky | Blowback

Classic Album Review: Tricky | Blowback

The trip-hop pioneer grabs for the brass ring with a VIP-packed commercial outing.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


U.K. trip-hop pioneer Tricky has always wanted it both ways — he has openly yearned for stardom but refused to compromise his dark, difficult sound to achieve it. Until now, that is.

The ex-Massive Attacker’s new event CD Blowback is a blatant bid to break big in North America by enlisting a roster of high-wattage guests like Alanis Morissette, Red Hot Chili Peppers and — for reasons perhaps known only to TrickyCyndi Lauper and Live’s Ed Kowalczyk. And so as not to scare away his new friends — or potential buyers — Mr. T smooths out the rough edges of his sound, augmenting his sinister, scratchy tracks and poisonous, dope-fuelled mumbling with radio-ready grooves and rhymes. Hell, he even covers Nirvana, reworking Something In The Way into a bizarre slice of woozy electro-lounge crooning. Despite all the commercial trappings, Tricky’s idiosyncratic genius and darkly magnetic charisma make Blowback a compelling, ultimately satisfying affair. But whether it signals the start of Tricky’s ascent or downfall is anybody’s guess. I just know he can’t have it both ways.