Back in my early teen years, my step-mother bought me a subscription to Spin magazine on her daughter’s recommendation. It was a blessing, and not because my mother hated it so much. Living in small-town nowhere allowed little exposure to the alternative music I so loved, and Spin was one of my windows into that world.
I cringe to think that were I an adolescent now, M2 and Spin would be feeding My Chemical Romance and Sugarcult. In the mid-90s—amidst the alleged post-Kobain drought—I got Cornershop, Beck, Atari Teenage Riot, and Tricky. I can also vividly remember seeing the video for “For Real” on M2 back when it had no commercials and played different genres for each day.
In my nostalgic mind, Tricky represents a brief time in the 90s when no scene or style really dominated alternative music. One could make an argument that post-grunge schlock like Matchbox 20 and 7 Mary 3 or electronica (primarily big beat), lead by acts such as Prodigy and the Crystal Method, held sway, but from my chair, plurality ruled the day.
Now, it seems that faux-garage dance rock, 80s revivalism, and emo-pop punk are your only choices. I realize that’s short changing the contemporary music culture. With mix CDs and iPods, people’s tastes are as varied as ever. However a part of me wonders if Tricky could make it as a new artist today.
The answer is probably yes. Just look at acts like TV on the Radio, M.I.A., and the Streets, who owe at least a small debt to Adrian “Tricky Kid” Thaws, who was brought to us from the Wild Bunch via Massive Attack. I think we may have missed out on ATR, but some might count that as a good thing.
Tricky – “Bad Things” from Pre-Millennium Tension, his moodiest album and my fav.
Tricky (featuring P.J. Harvey) – “Broken Homes” from Angels With Dirty Faces, his most experimental work and a critical darling in its day.
Tricky (featuring Hawkman) – “Diss Never (Dig We Up History)” from 2001’s Blowback, Tricky’s big commercial effort guest-starring Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ed Kowlczyk (Live), and a Nirvana cover (“Something in the Way”). The album was roughly as successful as his previous releases and played a role in introducing the mainstream to dancehall. So you can blame Tricky for Sean Paul.
"I'VE GOT A RECORD DEAL . . ."
Tricky on insound
Trikcy on amazon
Tricky on iTunes