Blowback received generally positive reviews from critics, although many of Tricky's longtime fans disliked it. According to Encyclopedia of Popular Music writer Colin Larkin, it was hailed as Tricky's best record since his 1995 debut Maxinquaye, while PopMatters critic Jeffrey Thiessen later called it "a great pop album nobody liked".Simon Price regarded Blowback as Tricky's best album since 1996's Pre-Millennium Tension and "his most accessible since Maxinquaye. He wrote in his review for The Independent at the time that the artist's move to New York "away from the petty politics of the music business" had resulted in "a dark, dense album of future-funk and deep dub". In The New York Times, Neil Strauss called it a radical departure from previous Tricky records, "direct and upfront, the poppiest production Tricky has ever mustered".NME reviewer Sarah Dempster was less receptive, expressing disappointment in Tricky's choice of guest artists, who she felt came off as "market-friendly gimmicks, novelties that will afford his selective ramblings a wider audience".Pitchfork's Brent DiCrescenzo was even more critical, deeming much of the music "horrible" and plagued by Tricky's poor lapses in creative judgment, particularly the duets with Anthony Kiedis and Ed Kowalczyk.
Blowback was named the fourth best album of 2001 by Village Voice critic Robert Christgau. In retrospect, he viewed it as Tricky's most "songful" release, one that was "criminally neglected" by listeners. Bill Friskics-Warren later said Blowback was "an album of funk-rock by way of dancehall reggae" that relied on mainstream-rock guest performers but did not "forego incisiveness for accessibility, resistance for appeasement".
"#1 Da Woman" (track 6) features Frusciante and bandmate Flea, respectively on guitar/chorus vocals and bass. It also features Josh Klinghoffer, current Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist on drums. This song contains an interpolation of the title song for the TV series Wonder Woman.
"Something in the Way" (track 10) is a cover of the song originally performed by Nirvana on their album Nevermind.
"Five Days" (track 11) contains guest vocals by Cyndi Lauper.
"Your Name" is a version of "Under the Bamboo Tree", written by Bob Cole.