I can remember seeing Tricky at some festival – T-in-the-Park, probably – back in the ’90s, just after the first album had come out and being just completely transfixed by Martina Topley-Bird, her stage presence and voice and the fact that there seemed something unworldly about her. She was, in many ways, the heart of Tricky 1.0, and as that act/performer/group/whatever fell apart (Seriously, that third album? Not so good), she was what I found myself missing the most. Cut to years later, and this song from her second solo album: There’s a lightness on it that betrays the touch of producer Danger Mouse, but the retro girlband sound works here – There’s something suitably dreamy about the way it shimmies around Topley-Bird’s vocal, all handclaps and tinkling synthetic ivories, disguising the sadness at the heart of the lyrics (“Baby blue/I don’t know what you do when you call to me,” she sings, apparently about a boy who’s oblivious to what’s really going on in her heart and her mind).
Topley-Bird’s solo stuff is disappointing in its unevenness, but when it’s like this, I find myself wanting more.