Pre-Millennium Tension

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Pre-Millennium Tension
Tricky - Pre Millennium Tension.jpg
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
(1996)
Pre-Millennium Tension
(1996)
Angels with Dirty Faces
(1998)

Pre-Millennium Tension is the second[1][2] album from Tricky, released in 1996. It was a conscious effort by Tricky to depart away from the trip hop label with which critics had described his previous music. The album was well received by critics, being named the ninth best record of the year in the 1996 Pazz & Jop poll.

Background[edit]

In an October 1996 interview for Ray Gun, Tricky said he wanted to make Pre-Millennium Tension an "out-an-out punk record" to get away from the trip hop label with which his previous work had been categorized by critics. He said, "I thought it was going be heavier... What I wanted to do was a total fast album. Some of the tracks are fast and hard, but they didn't come out like that."[2] The album was mainly recorded in Jamaica, and other parts were 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. The album features longtime collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, and former Mama's Boys guitarist Pat McManus.[citation needed]

According to PopMatters writer Wayne Franklin, Pre-Millennium Tension "revealed a new, more sinister sound, most likely attained due to his move to New York City and his work with underground rappers ... containing the singles 'Christiansands' (the biggest hit of his career), 'Tricky Kid' (hailed as his best rap song, with backing vocals by Rock, who sounds like a British P. Diddy), and 'Makes Me Wanna Die' (which contains a sample of Eric B. & Rakim’s 'To the Listeners')".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly B−[6]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[7]
NME 6/10[8]
Pitchfork Media 8/10[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[11]
Spin 9/10[12]
The Village Voice A−[13]

Pre-Millennium Tension received positive reviews from critics, who found the record's music ambitious, eclectic, and threatening.[3] In the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot said Tricky transcended the boundaries of trip hop by drawing on and manipulating a number of styles, including ambient, drum and bass, hip hop, and dancehall, in his evocative production: "Few records have more artfully blurred the boundaries between sensuality and terror, fascination and fear, seduction and confusion."[5] David Bennun from The Guardian wrote that Tricky deconstructed hip hop clichés and "gangsta-isms" into bizarrely malcontent songs on what was an "astonishing record - not a great one, but a very good, very awkward and very strange one".[7] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau found Tricky's use of hip hop soundscapes compelling: "His music comprehends and inhabits the dystopia of everyday life more radically than Wu-Tang could conceive." He added that its success relied heavily on Topley-Bird.[13] In a mixed review, Simon Williams of NME said the album's last few songs "seemed to suffer from the very fury which makes the rest of the record work", with "My Evil Is Strong" and "Piano" in particular overindulging in cynical attitudes and monotony.[8] David Browne was more critical in Entertainment Weekly. He believed Tricky's incorporation of more soul and reggae elements than Maxinquaye, as well as his use of spasmodic beats and "revue-style singers", weakened his "trademark trip-hop" style and resulted in a more theatrical, "pretentious" record.[6]

At the end of 1996, Pre-Millennium Tension was voted the ninth best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics nationwide.[14] It was later included in Q magazine's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time".[15]

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.[citation needed]

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 Dream"   "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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Biography included in the Pre-Millennium Tension presskit". Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b The Madness of King Tricky I - Raygun 96
  3. ^ a b Franklin, Wayne (21 August 2002). "Tricky: A Ruff Guide". PopMatters. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pre-Millennium Tension – Tricky". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Kot, Greg (22 November 1996). "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension (Island)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Browne, David (22 November 1996). "Pre-millennium Tension". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Bennun, David. "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension (Island)". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Williams, Simon (9 November 1996). "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension (4th & Broadway / All formats)". NME. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Schreiber, Ryan. "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension". Q (123): 138. December 1996. 
  11. ^ Fine, Jason (22 November 1996). "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  12. ^ Aaron, Charles (December 1996). "Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension". Spin. 12 (9): 139. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (17 December 1996). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  14. ^ Pazz & Jop 1996
  15. ^ "Q Magazine's 50 Heaviest Albums". Retrieved 14 February 2008. 

External links[edit]