Pre-Millennium Tension

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Pre-Millennium Tension
Studio album by Tricky
Released 11 November 1996 (1996-11-11)
Recorded Grove Studios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica during 1996
Genre Trip hop
Length 47:21
Label Island/PolyGram Records
Producer Tricky
Tricky chronology
Nearly God
Pre-Millennium Tension
Angels with Dirty Faces
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Entertainment Weekly B−[3]
Pitchfork Media 8.0/10[4]
RapReviews 8.5/10[5]
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
Spin 9/10 stars[8]

Pre-Millennium Tension is the second[9][10] album from Tricky, released in 1996.

Album Background[edit]

Tricky originally said in an interview with Ray Gun in October 1996 that he wanted to make an 'out-an-out punk record' and that..

He also said that he hated being stuck with the trip-hop tag:

Album Production[edit]

The album was recorded in Jamaica, possibly explaining the heavy Rastafarian influence on the album. Parts were also recorded at Platinum Islands Studio, New York. It was recorded & mixed by Ian Caple recorded in Grove Studios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica & mixed at El Cortijo Studio in Spain. Following the unexpected success of Maxinquaye, Tricky made a much darker, more paranoid sonic landscape for this release, resulting in a more abrasive, and far less accessible album. It features longtime collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, and former Mama's Boys guitarist Pat McManus.

Album Influences[edit]

The album contains many various lyrical references to the Rastafari movement. Examples include:

  • In the song "Tricky Kid", the lines "Here comes the Nazarene, look good in that magazine, Haile Selassie I, they look after I", referring to Haile Selassie I, an important figure to Rastafaris (who believe that he is God reincarnated). The "I", meaning 'the First', is pronounced as "eye", the Rastafarian style.
  • In the song "Makes Me Wanna Die", the line "A small piece, an ism" referring to Rastafari's hatred of -isms
  • Very heavily throughout the song "Ghetto Youth", with heavy use of Rastafari slang such as:
    • "An' if a likkle fire ever get weh?" (If a little fire ever gets away)
    • "Mi' don know seh" (I already know that)
    • "Chu, mi nah lef' him at all" (I'm not leaving him at all)
    • "Gwan hol' tings" (Keep doing your thing) and,
    • "An' we ah out dessuh a bruk our hand and our neck fi yu'" (And we're out there breaking our hand and neck for you)

The song "Tricky Kid" borrows the chorus from the The presidents of the United States of America song "Naked And Famous" from their eponymous debut album. The original work is versed as:

"Everybody wants to be naked and famous,
Everybody wants to be just like me
I'm naked
And famous"

The Sample at 0:36 on "Vent" is plucked from Tool 69th track Disgustipated from their 1993 album Undertow. The original work starts at 0:59 into Disgustipated.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Sample Length
1. "Vent"     3:04
2. "Christiansands"   "La Di Da Di" (Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew) 3:52
3. "Tricky Kid"   "Zoom" (The Commodores) 4:11
4. "Bad Dreams"   "Housebound" (The Specials) 4:12
5. "Makes Me Wanna Die"   "Beats for the Listeners" (Eric B. & Rakim) 4:02
6. "Ghetto Youth"     5:37
7. "Sex Drive"     3:51
8. "Bad Things"     5:12
9. "Lyrics of Fury"   "King" (Slick Rick) 3:21
10. "My Evil Is Strong"   "Sound Bwoy Bureill" (Smif-n-Wessun) 3:59
11. "Piano"     4:14

Track notes[edit]

Album reception[edit]

It was included in Q Magazine's 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.[11]

  • In a 1997 interview between journalist Liz Jones and Prince, Jones tells Prince he should listen to Tricky, because Tricky reminds her of Prince in his early career. Intrigued, Prince asks her the name of Tricky's latest album, she says "Pre-Millennium Tension" and Prince spontaneously answers "well, isn't that another way to say ‘1999’" (1999 being Prince's breakthrough album released in 1982.) This interview is featured in Liz Jones' book "Slave to the Rhythm."

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^,,295095,00.html
  4. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  5. ^
  6. ^ Q (12/96, p.138) – 4 Stars (out of 5) – "...Conventional instruments like pianos or harmonicas jostle with found sounds over ferocious rhythm tracks in an unsettling soundscape where anything can happen, providing it's knuckle-clenching and sweat-inducing....Uneasy yet undeniably brilliant..."
  7. ^ Rolling Stone review
  8. ^ Spin (12/96, p.139) – 9 (out of 10) – "...Inspired rather than threatened by hip-hop, Tricky tosses it off like a Stussy cape....At his most compelling, Tricky calls everything into question, including himself....his music, a collage of gasping beats and forlorn chords, speaks beyond words..."
  9. ^ "Biography included in the Pre-Millennium Tension presskit". Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ The Madness of King Tricky I - Raygun 96
  11. ^ "Q Magazine's 50 Heaviest Albums". Retrieved 14 February 2008.