Neneh Cherry – The Versions
Robyn, ANOHNI and Greentea Peng feature on Neneh Cherry's The Versions, an album that is sadly plagued by a tendency to take itself too seriously
On The Versions Neneh Cherry is back, this time as commissioner, curator and composer of a collection of covers of songs from her first three albums. The album is an exercise in transposing music with a tangibly 90s sound into something for 2022’s ears – and it’s broadly pretty successful (references to ‘gigolos’ are even swapped out for the more contemporary ‘fuckboy’). Jamila Woods’ Kootchi and Greentea Peng’s Buddy X have been set to a laidback jazzy accompaniment and slowed garage-esque beat respectively; both could easily have been released independently this year and received a warm reception.
Robyn’s version of Buffalo Stance featuring Mapei kicks the album off, but unfortunately it’s a bit of a limp interpretation. It feels like the work of someone who has missed what makes the original exciting – it’s slowed right down, and lacking the momentum of the continuous hi-hat and tambourine that are explicitly introduced at the start of the original. On Buffalo Stance, and in general, the album is plagued by a tendency to take itself too seriously. While tracks like Woman are meant to be sombre (and ANOHNI is the perfect artist to deliver this), several of the featured artists have attempted to transpose Cherry’s tongue-in-cheek asides into sincere parts of the melody and in doing so have undercut the fun of the songs.
Listen to: Woman (feat. ANOHNI), Buddy X (feat. Greentea Peng)