Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics

To first-time listeners, Neneh Cherry’s Broken Politics might be just another angry, left-leaning take on society.  For longtime fans, there’s a different trend at play with these occasionally aggressive and often socially-aware songs. Influences surrounding Cherry for 54 years – from the creative defiance of her jazz musician father Don Cherry to decades around the underground – gets celebrated without the album sounding like a lazy rehash of Anglicized reggae, rap, and electronic music.

For example, “Kong” blends abrasive Jamaican dub with gorgeous piano accompaniment in a way that’s reminiscent of her early ’80s stint with The Pop Group spin-off Rip, Rig + Panic. Songs like “Faster Than the Truth” borrow from the singer’s trip- and hip-hop pasts, providing a hook for listeners only familiar with “Buffalo Stance.” Although those songs and the world music celebration “Slow Release” reference Cherry’s musically diverse discography, each selection sounds fresh in 2018.

From 20-somethings pissed that they didn’t fully experience the ‘90s to legacy acts taking uninspired victory laps, there’s way too much overly-derivative music out there. Cherry always found ways to reinvent her sound without overshadowing her roots while cutting ’80s dance hits and ’90s deep cuts. Thankfully, she sticks with that forward-thinking philosophy on an album that’s more than yet another aimless stroll down memory lane.

Neneh Cherry
Broken Politics
[Smalltown Supersound]