Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Nothing’s Changed” by Tricky, and featuring Francesca Belmonte, from the 2013 album False Idols on False Idols/!K7.
One of electronic music’s most forward thinking in the mid-90s, Tricky has remained a prolific and formidable force in English music since his landmark 1995 debut, Maxinquaye. A member of the Bristol collective The Wild Bunch in the late 80s, Tricky would eventually become a member of the pioneering trip-hop group Massive Attack, but would eventually leave the band to focus on his solo career. Along with Portishead’s Dummy, Tricky’s Maxinquaye was one of the year’s biggest critical and commercial successes, but as the decade wore on, he became increasingly uncomfortable with his success, making more difficult records while avoiding the public eye. In the latter half of the 2000s, he reemerged as a prolific artist who toured and recorded regularly, and in 2012, embarked on a brief and chaotic tour playing Maxinquaye in its entirety. His latest album, False Idols, his first on his own label and perhaps his strongest latter-period effort, finds him working with a plethora of vocal and musical foils, including Francesca Belmonte, a.k.a. Franky Riley, and The Antlers’ Peter Silberman. On “Nothing’s Changed”, the album’s lead single, Tricky reflects on his past, albeit through the voice of his foil, Belmonte, a technique he has employed compellingly since the beginning of his career. The man himself doesn’t show up vocally until the last third of the song, where his now-aged rasp of a voice growls the song’s refrain - “Nothing’s changed/I still feel the same” - revealing the duo’s unlikely but alluring chemistry. In a lot of ways, “Nothing’s Changed” shows that Tricky continues to play to his strengths - melancholy chords and strong female foils - but it also shows that he’s more than able to adapt to the musical landscape in 2013.
Tricky will play a series of U.S. and festival dates this summer in support of False Idols, and although he doesn’t have any Pacific Northwest shows lined up at the moment, he’ll be back to play festivals in the U.S. in October, so keep an eye on his website and Facebook (where Belmonte is documenting the False Idols tour). For now, watch Tricky play the Maxinquaye classic “Hell Is Round The Corner” at Glastonbury 1995: