Twenty-four years after her worldwide hit Seven Seconds with Youssou N’Dour, Neneh Cherry returns with another protest song mixing a hard-hitting message with an irresistible tune.
Co-produced by Four Tet and Massive Attack’s 3D, it’s a slow-burning electro-dub skank with an infectious piano melody floating over the top before a killer bassline kicks in. But that’s just the medium for a topical message.
While 7 Seconds, which reached number 3 in many countries (including the UK) in 1994, was an emotional response to the innocence of a new-born child in a violent world, Kong once again fuses the personal and the political, in a timely protest at the ongoing European refugee crisis, filtered through the history of colonialism and western military power.
“Every nation seeks its friends in France & Italy / And all across the seven seas / And goddam guns and guts and bitter love still put a hole in me.”
This stunning video by fast-rising south London director Jenn Nkiru, who cut her teeth on Beyonce and Jay-Z’s internet-breaking Apeshit, and the single’s striking artwork – a portrait of Neneh in defiant pose – is by Turner Prize-winning photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.
Kong is out now on Norwegian indie label Smalltown Supersound, which released Neneh’s first album in 16 years, Blank Project, in 2014. Neneh today announced three September shows, including one UK date in London:
Stockholm – Tradgarden
London – Village Underground
Paris – Le Cafe de la Danse