Tricky | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


I knew Tricky had signed to Hollywood Records for his sixth full-length, Blowback, but I didn't realize he was actually going Hollywood until I looked over the album's list of guest stars. Sure, he's always enlisted big names, from PJ Harvey to Bjork, but his collaborators have usually seemed more attuned to his murky, introverted aesthetic than this batch: Three of the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Alanis Morissette? Cyndi Lauper? If this is how Tricky hopes to cross over into the mainstream, he's at least five years late. From a Peppers-powered cover of "Wonder Woman" (yes, the TV theme song) to an angular version of Nirvana's "Something in the Way" (featuring Jamaican toaster Hawkman on vocals), Blowback is full of "modern rock" moves that feel as dated as a back issue of Ben Is Dead. But even though it's disappointing to hear Tricky surrendering his vision to the kind of pop structures he once subverted, Blowback is still a major improvement over his previous attempt, 1999's depressingly flaccid Juxtapose. The ideas here may be old news, but Tricky carries many of them off admirably: the Big Rawk of "Evolution Revolution Love" (with Ed Kowalczyk, that dork from Live) is actually engaging, against all odds; the weird, stumbling rhythms and Japanese vocals of the final track, "A Song for Yukiko," lend the whole album an intriguing sense of irresolution. Blowback also gets points for being Tricky's most personable record in years. After all, assuming he was trying to sell out, he must've known he'd have to focus his songcraft and lighten the fuck up--and here he does both, with lots of help from Hawkman, who sings more than anyone else. His voice is every bit as gravelly as Tricky's, but nowhere near as morose. Wednesday, September 19, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Anton Corbijn.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Michaelangelo Matos

  • How the USA fell for EDM, chapter one

    How the USA fell for EDM, chapter one

    In these excerpts from his lively and meticulous new book, The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America, longtime Reader contributor Michaelangelo Matos chronicles the three-decade ascent of EDM.
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • How Chicago house got its groove back

    How Chicago house got its groove back

    Chicago house music is the sound of global pop today. In the 90s, though, it was on life support—until a new wave of producers, including Cajmere and DJ Sneak, got the city doing the Percolator.
    • May 3, 2012
  • Mixed messages

    Mixed messages

    Fabric mixes from Craig Richards and Goldie and a DJ-Kicks mix from Motor City Drum Ensemble
    • Aug 11, 2011
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
October 23
Performing Arts
Sherlock's Last Case First Folio Theatre
October 02

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories