Tricky, Angels with Dirty Faces

Island
Released: June 1998

This is probably Tricky's third-best album, behind the epic Maxinquaye and the most recent Juxtapose. Still, this is an essential work because Tricky is an essential artist. The album as a whole is wonderful and complex and unusual and beautiful. This is not to say that Angels won't annoy people, either. It's got plenty of dark, eerie parts that will make your average Spice Girl or Oasis fan cringe and/or throw up. However, to me, AwDF is interesting from the get-go. Like Max, it has wonderful musical moments that stand out above and beyond the work as a whole: for instance, the wonderful keyboard work in "Analyze Me," the weird beat in "Mellow," and, of course, Tricky's menacing vocals throughout. Although Martina's limited role here is a disappointment -- as is the news that Tricky doesn't want to work with her anymore -- I find Tricky's own voice to be much more mature, assured, and powerful here than in his previous efforts. That, more than anything, spells good tidings for the future.

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