To you she’s maybe just the chick that sang “Buffalo Stance”.
But I had the time and the mind to pay better attention when the 80s were turning into the 90s, and so “Kisses On The Wind” might’ve been a less buzz-worthy follow-up to her name-making smash, but not an unworthy one. And then came the dark “Heart” video which freed Neneh from her green-screen cell and placed her in the brilliant spotlight of David Fincher. And then came the rap clip about AIDS, insidiously infecting the old, cold format of the PSA with the youthful sizzle of MTV so that worrying about HIV became less a matter of Life Or Death but of Hot Or Not.
Neneh always had too much to worry about, too much to school us all on, to waste her time getting us to majorly like her by cuddling mer-boys or tapping with animated skat cats like her pop diva contemporaries did. She’s been lying pretty low for the past twenty years, but she’ll be rising back up in February with her album Blank Project and she sounds like she’s still got pages of personal and social woes to alert us on.
She might’ve stomped into our world via the dance floor but she’s too urgent and acid-jazzy to bop around in such feelin’-good grooves these days.
However she needs to sound now, whatever she wants to say, I’m listening. Old friends will tell you things no one else can.