I’m tempted to go back and retroactively add Neneh Cherry’s Broken Politics to my list of the best records of 2018. But I didn’t discover this record until pretty recently, so I’ll just say that this year it’s one of my favorite new discoveries. ‘New’ is all relative, of course; Cherry is 55 and used to be a member of the trailblazing female punk band The Slits. If she sounds like she sprang fully formed from the digital whirlpool of right now, it’s a testament to her hear for what ‘right now’ is.
I wasn’t there when Neneh Cherry’s debut album Raw Like Sushi was a critics’ darling in 1989. I wasn’t around to question why, instead of becoming an R’n’B sensation, Cherry only made four more albums. As far as I’m concerned, Neneh Cherry is a brand new artist fresh off the boat from Sweden. I only found out about her new record Broken Politics because some critic thought it was one of the year’s best. And much to my surprise, it was. It takes a special kind of giftedness to write a sexy slow-jam about deep vein thrombosis, but Cherry does it. (Go ahead look up Deep Vein Thrombosis by Neneh Cherry, I’ll wait.) Imagine my surprise to learn that this gifted rising star is a woman of 55 who had her shot at pop stardom in 1989, decided it wasn’t for her, and has been quietly honing her chops on her own terms ever since. Obviously, I regret not paying attention sooner.