- Personnel: Tricky (vocals, harmonica); Martina, Sky (vocals); Patrice Chevalier (guitar); Pat McManus (violin, piano); John Tonks (drums); Rock (background vocals).
- Recorded at Grove Studios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Platinum Island Studios, New York, New York.
- Urbane and despairing, this trip-hop king's second album under his own name is a genuine fin-de-siecle concoction. Apocalyptic messages are projected over layers of gleaming noises and libidinous rhythms that lurk underneath the surface like secret cities. Although his songs are full of sinister, futuristic overtones, Tricky refuses to be cornered as a messianic spokesperson. No longer working under the moniker "Nearly God," and discontented with the role of anonymous auteur, he's the "Tricky Kid": simultaneously celebrating and bemoaning the musician-as-god paradigm.
- Tricky continues to weave narratives from a variety of standpoints--everyone from the ghetto-dweller to the biggest superstar is given a voice on this album. Martina Topley Bird, a long-time Tricky accomplice, lends her sultry voice to several tracks, giving them the sophisticated, continental ambience of Portishead. No matter who is doing the talking, these songs are delivered with a cool detachment. PRE-MILLENNIUM TENSION is infallibly hip: an apotheosis of urban grace.
Rolling Stone (1/23/97, p.44) - Ranked #2 on Rolling Stone's list of the "Ten Best Albums" of 1996.
Rolling Stone (12/12/96, p.86) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...distorted guitars, disorienting digital effects and the exquisite soul crooning of...Martina Topley Bird over fractured loops and vintage hip-hop beats....an abstract, minimalist edge....closer in spirit to the work of Prince or Lee `Scratch' Perry..."
Spin (1/97, p.58) - Ranked #6 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums of '96."
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..."
Q (7/01, p.91) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time".
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..."
JazzTimes (4/97, p.65) - "In a world where `the sound of urban decay' comes in a glossy, retread R&B package, Tricky's PRE-MILLENNIUM TENSION sounds positively revolutionary. Where others rely on militaristic sameness, Tricky's music sounds like a series of sonic accidents..."
Vibe (12/96, p.181) - "...Tricky's trip hop fills you up and satisfies you....Call it trip hop, Euro rap, black alternative, or whatever term you fancy. Just don't sleep..."
The Source (12/96, p.140) - "...Tricky produces cinematic soundscapes...he layers thick bass loops with enough noise...to warp your mind....Trip-hop was boring 'til Tricky brought sex, hip-hop and beautiful transgressive thoughts to the mix..."
Melody Maker (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #4 on Melody Maker's list of 1996's "Albums Of The Year."
Musician (2/97, pp.122-123) - "...dense, hypnotic soundscapes that suggest primal terrors....an ingenious mischief-maker rather than an author of old-fashioned beats....PRE-MILLENNIUM TENSION makes swell nightmare fodder..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #9 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #8 in NME's 1996 critics' poll.