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Pre-Millennium Tension picks up where the first album, Maxinquaye, left off, but this CD fulfils the promise of Tricky's unbounded spontaneity and fondness for sonic digression. Abandoning the accessible pop of Maxinquaye, Pre-Millennium Tension serves up a beguiling array of sound effects, electro distortion and fragmented lyrics that amount to a rich--if bizarre-musical montage. As suggested by its title, this disc zeros in on a kind of end-of-the-millennium disruption of classifiable sound. With its cross-pollination of hip-hop, cabaret balladry, background textures, and disjointed arrangements, Pre-Millennium Tension takes a peek at the future of pop music and declares it will be nothing like we expect. --Nick Heil
Top Customer Reviews
I think this is Tricky's most important album, and the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is simply because you can't listen to it whenever you want to. The music is very abstract, and the voices and lyrics are usually garbled or spoken in a seemingly disjointed manner that doesn't really follow any clear method. Thoughts and analysis ruin the album, and you have to listen to the voices and not the words being spoken. If you listen to it around lunch-time when you're wide-eyed awake and dilligently pursuing some errand in your day, you'll be thinking and moving too fast to get this. The moon and stars have to be around when you hear this, and even then you have to be in a certain state of mind; you basically have to be in a mental place where you don't particularly care about anything. Then, this album comes alive and engulfs your brain like cold black tar. It flows over you and through you, like some faceless phantom.
It's hard to explain, this is a truly unique album. Despite how many times you listen to it or try to get into it, you'll never appreciate it until you hear it under the right circumstances.
"Vent" kicks off the album with a steady, relentless drum-roll beat, what sounds like highly tortured backwards guitar, layers of trademark sampled percussion and Martina repeating, " Can't hardly breath" - very claustrophobic. "Christiansands" and "Tricky Kid" are fabulous - classic Tricky. "Bad Dream" is less compelling but pretty good. "[She] Makes Me Wanna Die" has a laid-back hip-hop beat with nice vocals and melody. But the lyrics make me kind of uncomfortable - especially listening with my girlfriend. I don't know, sweetly singing "She makes me wanna die" is uncomfortably creepy to me.
No one should be complaining that they can't understand the "Ghetto Youth;" neither can I, but I find the cant fascinating and I'm grateful to be exposed to something so alien to me. If I rejected all the vocals I couldn't understand, I'd have to get rid of nearly half my CDs!
"Sex Drive" has that fluttering, rolling off the rails quality one hears in "Vent." "Bad Things" is murky and dark while "Lyrics of Fury" is a hyperkenetic rap. "My Evil is Strong" is very experimental, very rambling and pure genius. Finally, "Piano" has an ominous atmosphere. Tricky recites a staggered rap over what sounds like breathing machines pumping in rhythm to the spare piano chords.
Not for everyone, but it took me a few listens to digest the compellingly innovative sounds on this album. Tricky's where it's at!
This could have been a four-star CD with better editing and more sonic innovation. But ultimately it fails in its mission, and by the end of the CD it trails off in a miasma of sameness. Too bad.
Most recent customer reviews
This CD confirms for me that the 90s was probably the greatest decade for music in terms of freshness, creativity and inventivness. The triphop scene especially. Read morePublished on Dec 15 2003
I think this is one of Tricky's better albums but is usually snubbed when i mention it to people.This is probably his darkest and most intense work, making it all the more... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2003 by Philip Byrne
This is my favorite downbeat album, beating out portishead and massive attack. The track "tricky kid" is worth the whole CD. Read morePublished on March 2 2003 by Pam Cash
Having already bought 'Maxinquaye' and 'Blowback', I decided my next Tricky album should be 'Pre-Millenium Tension'. Read morePublished on June 8 2002 by MUSIC LOVER
I think you could buy this album solely for the track "Makes Me Wanna Die." This song is one of the best tracks written in the 90s - a deceptively simple song, but listening to it... Read morePublished on April 27 2002
Following his acclaimed first album, Maxinquaye, tricky redefines himslef in Pre-Millenium Tension. Using dark undertones and a unique style of downtempo, vocals, and rap, he... Read morePublished on March 20 2002
This album is a DUD and YOU KNOW IT!
It's not a great album.
There's nothing worse than spending your money on a full length album that's pnly got one or two good songs... Read more
Pre-Millennium tension was my first introduction to tricky. I got really into his music from listening to this album. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2002 by Neel Aroon