April 29, 2005

Outre Risque Buffalo Girl

Homegirl Neneh Cherry in 1989:

Neneh Cherry needs to release an album. This is a key agenda item in my Pop Platform. She and Kate Bush and Maxwell need to get off their asses and put out some product for me. If you don't know much about Neneh Cherry, she appeared (bio) when I was in college in 1989* with a song that started out kind of underground and then hit big. "Buffalo Stance" was clevah hip hop with an Euro/Brit edge. It bounced along with its catchy "No money man could win my love" chorus, but it was the details that made it sparkle - how many of you who know this song can recite the "Wot's he like? Wot's he like anyway?" part and nail all the "Gigolo. Huh ? Sucka!" bits at the right moments. PrincessYumYum, I know you can. The album that followed, Raw Like Sushi, was laden with brilliant songs and passionate singing (hear "Inna City Mama," a song that Mary J. Blige must have nursed on) and rapping. With 4 or 5 great singles and a snazzy Jean Baptiste Mondino cover/videos, it deserves a remaster - it's a definitive 80's album. Neneh was globalized before the word globalization existed!

Neneh followed this with the only truly successful reinvention of a Cole Poter song on Red Hot And Blue - her version of Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" is a street symphony that weaves in her own narrative about kids on the street getting high and getting AIDS. Soon after, she released Homebrew, which was more international in flava and less successful. The album did boast a great hit called "Buddy X" which was a slam against her himbo friend Lenny Kravitz's cheatin' ways. It also had collaborations with Michael Stipe and jazzy Guru of Gang Starr.

She disappeared for several years to raise her children (one now in her late teens) and returned in the mid-nineties with a very different trip-hoppy sound on the Man album. In the fresh wake of the Spice Girls' girl power schtick, her single "Woman" was the most feminist anthem I have ever heard as a pop single and it has fucking great lyrics: "To save my child, I'd rather go hungry / I've got all of Ehtiopia inside of me." Beautiful. The album also included her elegant minor-chord-ish duet with Youssou N'Dour on "7 Seconds." I don't know anyone who doesn't like this song, just listening to it makes you feel like a world traveler. See the "Kootchi" lyrics below for a sample of her writing style.

Neneh has remained pretty quiet now for almost 10 years. She peeked out for a few moments in 1999 to do a fucking amazing slow burn of a song called "Twisted Mess" with film composer Craig Armstrong. This one starts simple and builds and builds into a 6 minute epic.

We also love Neneh for giving us a lasting look: the around-the-way girl with a bathroom towel wrapped around her head in homage to Africa. [Princess, I made you wear this look for a picture, remember?!] Please note, trolls, that you can purchase her CDs for very cheap via Amazon Marketplace. One is on sale for a penny and that is no reflection on quality.

My public message to Neneh Cherry: I will wear my own (pimple-cream stained) purple bath sheet on my head in honor of you, but you must please release another abum. Soon.

Glam Vogue model Neneh Cherry in 1992:


My top ten Neneh Cherry songs
1 woman 1995
2 i’ve got u under my skin 1990
3 buffalo stance 1989
4 7 seconds 1995
5 inna city mama 1989
6 twisted mess 1999

7 kootchi 1999
8 love ghetto 1989
9 buddy x 1992
10 feel it 1999

* Some freidns who know me know that I sometimes morph into a... fierce black woman, at least in musical tastes. get outta my way, ya know I mean!

3 comments:

The Dancing Kids said...

You know what is funny - at the moment you were posting this entry into your blog, I was actually listening to a mash up of "Brimful of Asha" and "Buffalo Stance" and singing along with all the words.

wot is he like anyway????

Now I need to go find those pictures - you also had me wear those big hoop earrings. Very much pre - "This is me now!"

The Dancing Kids said...

oh i also wanted to add:

quietly the car was rolling like a bullet...

xolondon said...

Have Vinny send me that song! I forgot about "Move With Me" - I was about to say that line doesn't really work -do bullets roll quietly? - but it sorta does. I mean I get the point...