Album of the Day: Neneh Cherry, “Broken Politics”

Neneh Cherry’s very presence is a political act. Her blending of bohemianism, hip-hop swagger, British bass culture, and a joyous feminism were always expressed in her personality, her voice, her fashion sense as much as in her lyrics. That’s true now more than ever. In the past six years, following a long break, she’s been testing new musical waters. Broken Politics—made with Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden and her husband Cameron McVey—feels like the culmination of those recent experiments.

Musically, the album is as rich as any she’s made. Sparkling harps are draped over a shuffling rhythm on “Fallen Leaves”; ghostly chimes provide the sparkling rhythm for “Black Monday,” while “Natural Skin Deep” and “Kong” are propulsive and restless, the former dropping dizzying steel drum samples over hefty beats, the latter riding a fathoms-deep dub groove. As always, the textures and rhythms perfectly frame the songwriting. Lyrically, the album plays out like a set of meditations: impressionistic responses to the “broken politics” of a post-Trump world. It is the very “Neneh Cherry-ness” of it that brings it all into focus, and it makes it a powerful and sustaining statement. On Broken Politics, Neneh Cherry is at the peak of her powers; the results are nothing short of stunning.

-Joe Muggs

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