How do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? By what metric do we judge our own capacity to make change? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood?
Neneh Cherry's extraordinary fifth solo album, Broken Politics, asks these questions and more?searching for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It's a record that's equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent electronic pop.
"I have a name. You have a name. We're not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground," Cherry proclaims when talking about her worldly vision that seeped into Broken Politics. "We're human beings with lives and stories."
Art can often remind us of how it feels to live in the moment, and it can also be instructive in helping understand how to preserve that moment. Broken Politics finds Cherry at her most generous and benevolent towards a world that is often anything but. She puts it best in the chorus of "Fallen Leaves," in her own defiant way: "Just because I'm down/ Don't step all over me."