In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Neneh Cherry was basically the coolest person on the planet. The daughter of a jazz great, she grew up in Sweden and in London, got into punk rock, and lived with the Slits’ Ari Up. By 1989, she was a pop star, rapping and singing over beats from the UK’s most cutting-edge dance producers. Her first two albums, Raw Like Sushi and Homebrew, are totally essential pieces of pop-music bricolage and attitude projection.
These days, Cherry might still be the coolest person on the planet. Earlier this month, she released “Kong,” a strong new single co-produced by Four Tet and Massive Attack’s 3D. And today, she’s announced plans to release the new album Broken Politics, which, like her 2014 LP Blank Project, was produced entirely by Four Tet.
Cherry calls the new album “quieter and more reflective” than its predecessor, and it’s informed by a personal sense of politics. In a press release, she says:
I’m very shy about taking on big themes with the airs that I’ve got a solution — who has the fucking solutions? I like writing from a personal perspective, and the time we live in is so much about finding your own voice. People have been left feeling misheard, misunderstood, and disillusioned. What the fuck can I do? Maybe politics starts in your bedroom, or your house—a form of activism, and a responsibility. The album is about all of those things: feeling broken, disappointed, and sad, but having perseverance. It’s a fight against the extinction of free thought and spirit.
I have a name. You have a name. We’re not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground. We’re human beings with lives and stories
On first single “Shot Gun Shack,” she rides a tingly Four Tet beat, switching up her meter and phrasing like a jazz pro and deadpanning about gun culture. Below, listen to the track and check out the new album’s tracklist.
01 “Fallen Leaves”
03 “Poem Daddy”
04 “Synchronised Devotion”
05 “Deep Vein Thrombosis”
06 “Faster Than The Truth”
07 “Natural Skin Deep”
08 “Shot Gun Shack”
09 “Black Monday”
10 “Cheap Breakfast Special”
11 “Slow Release”