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With Help From Four Tet And 3D, Neneh Cherry Wraps 'Kong' In A Cool And Weary Wisdom


A still from Neneh Cherry's "Kong" video.

A still from Neneh Cherry's "Kong" video.

Though Neneh Cherry never really left music, her return as a solo performer in the last half-decade has been a reminder of the Swedish musician's remarkable elasticity. She fronted jazz group The Thing for a record of unlikely but should-be standards, appeared on recordings with her stepbrother David Ornette Cherry, made a pulsing dance record with London electronic music duo RocketNumberNine called MeYouWeYou, collaborated on a track with Devonté Hynes and released Blank Project, 2014's comeback album that felt less like a return and more like a celebration.

"Kong" features production from Four Tet (who also worked on Blank Project) and Massive Attack member 3D; within seconds, you're dipped into its crisp, yet foggy soundscape. Her diverse discography proves her range, but "Kong" captures Cherry's eternal vibe, an impeccable cool wrapped in weary wisdom.

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"Every nation seeks its friends in France & Italy / And all across the seven seas / And goddam guns and guts and history / And bitter love still put a hole in me," she sings over dubbed-out drums and bass, as a piano breaks apart the melody in the distance.

Director Jenn Nkiru, who worked on Beyoncé and Jay-Z's "Apes***" and visuals for Kamasi Washington's Heaven And Earth, features strong women in striking portraiture. Like Cherry's lyrics, the video challenges, but also offers strength: "Bite my head off / Steal my world / We'll always be another risk worth taking."

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