Thursday, August 03, 2006

Family Fued

Sometimes the music business can be a fascinating place to observe. Take the case with UK artist Tricky. Tricky gained fame as part of Massive Attack before striking out on his own with his debut album MAXINQUAYE, named after his mother. This is where the fun part comes in. A few years later another artist, Finley Quaye, released his debut album, MAVERICK A STRIKE. During the press coverage Finley insinuated that he was the half brother of Tricky's mom, making Finley Tricky's half uncle. Tricky didn't take to kindly to all this free publicity and in typical rapper fashion recorded a track blasting his alleged uncle. Needless to say, there is little love in the Quaye family. It seems that things have improved over the years and one place I read says that they have even recorded together.

Musically the two couldn't be any more different. Tricky's music is very dark and moody with his signature garbled drawl of rapping mixed oftentimes with angelic female vocals. On MAXINQUAYE, the female voacals were handled by Martina Topley-Bird, who was a teenager at the time. The three tracks here are very representative of his style. "Black Steel" is a great cover of the Public Enemy song "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos". "Overcome" is a blueprint for the trip hop movement (much in the same vein as Portishead or Massive Attack) and "Brand New, You're Retro" is about the most upbeat thing on the album.

Finley Quaye on the other hand is the definition of pop music. After MAVERICK A STRIKE (which was heavily influenced by reggae) he released MUCH MORE THAN MUCH LOVE, which was coproduced by William Orbit. Full of big hooks and catchy choruses it is as bright as Tricky is dark. The first single "Dice" features vocals from Beth Orton. Two other tracks, "Something to Say" and "Beautiful Nature" are full of positive, uplifting lyrics and are very singable. (Random aside; I first heard Beautiful Nature in a Sephora shopping with my wife; ahhh the things we do for love!)

Listen to both and compare to see who you like better. Each is geat in their own way.

(mp3) Tricky -- Black Steel

(mp3) Tricky -- Overcome

(mp3) Tricky -- Brand New, You're Retro

(m4a) Finley Quaye -- Dice

(m4a) Finley Quaye -- Something to Say

(m4a) Finley Quaye -- Beautiful Nature

No comments: