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Trip-hop OG Tricky Is Back with a New Single & Video

‘The Only Way’ is a brooding, beautiful throwback to his early solo work.

Ernest Hardyby Ernest Hardy

On his new single “The Only Way,” singer-songwriter-producer-visionary Tricky sounds like his lips are pressed right up against the mic, like it’s all but in his mouth as his gravelly whispered vocals wrap around lyrics of heartbreak and abandonment.  Throughout, he sidesteps cliché while mining vulnerability. The song, a 21st century version of Bill Withers’ R&B classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” is a plea for reconnection and reconciliation. “Be my friend / come back again…” The track is moodily atmospheric; strings, keyboards, guitar and a deep-in-the-mix airy wail all swirl around each other as they converge into a piece both cinematic and confessional. An old-school blues vibe slowly makes its way from background to foreground as the song winds toward its fade-out conclusion. “…Way” is a strong reminder of Tricky’s masterful 1995 debut album Maxinquaye, after he left Massive Attack. For years he refused to do anything that sounded like that breakthrough work, but now having traversed sounds and genres, and having worked with a who’s who in the music industry, he’s comfortable enough to revisit the familiar – and the payoff is fantastic.

Top photo courtesy Getty.