on 22 May 2002
"Best Of" albums are usually ones to avoid. They are generally pointless purchases for the fans as they have most of the albums already and, ironically, they are perhaps not the best place to start for the new-comer as they rarely 'hang together' very well and sound disjointed because of the range of records they are taken from.
In this instance I would actually say this isn't the case. Island have taken the sensible view of culling the best songs from the almost unlistenable "Angels With Dirty Faces" and the patchy follow up "Juxtapose", whilst adding a good selection of songs from the far superior "Pre Millenium Tension" and "Maxinquaye". Certainly his more 'accessible' work is included here (and in Tricky's case you have to use that term loosely - he was hardly one for writing three minute pop songs!), so it's great to see the inclusion of such great songs as "Hell Is Round The Corner", "For Real", "Black Steel" and "Christiansands".
So... I think this could well be his strongest release, and best of all it will hopefully help encourage people to re-assess the work of an artist whose recent few albums haven't been held in too much of a high esteem.
How to buy Tricky? I consider Maxinquaye and Pre-Millenium Tension as the first stops, but as a sampler for the critical years between 1993 and 1999 this Ruff Guide makes a useful overview that will point you to your own preferences.
The tricky kid did pretty well as a non-singer non-musician from the Knowle estates of Bristol, first with Massive Attack and then on his own (Overcome was a reworking of Massive Attack's Karmacoma), creating some of the most innovative and atmospheric music of the nineties.
Of course, in Martina he was fortunate to have discovered an incredibly gifted interpreter and singer whose contribution to his records cannot be overestimated. He also featured a pre-Goldfrapp Alison Goldfrapp, who made her name on the oddly titled 1995 hit single Pumpkin (it sampled the Smashing Pumpkins' Suffer). His knack of finding fruitful collaborators extended to better known names such as PJ Harvey (on Broken Homes), Terry Hall (on I Be The Prophet and Bubbles, both from the Nearly God project) and DJ Muggs (Wash My Soul and Scrappy Love, from 1999's Juxtapose).
With the exception of Singing The Blues (a cover of Mary McCreary's 1974 song, not Guy Mitchell or Tommy Steele, though I'd like to hear Tricky's version of that!) from Angels With Dirty Faces, and those already mentioned, all the track selections were singles, and are generally presented in their shortened single edit formats, though Aftermath is the rarer full five minutes of Version One (from the single) and similarly I Be The Prophet is the version with drums.