As we reach the end of the 2000s, it’s time for the retro nostalgia to begin for the previous decade. Isn’t that how it works? Well, I thought I’d kick it off with some of my favorite songs of the 90s.
Neneh Cherry is one of those artists who quietly influenced popular music and culture without receiving her due credit. There would be no M.I.A. without Neneh Cherry. Cherry’s album Homebrew was one of those records I listened to when nothing else seemed to satiate my musical hunger but it’s this song, Manchild from her first album Raw Like Sushi that is among my all time favorites. By the way, there’s a connection to last week’s favorite videos, Cherry (her step-dad is Jazz musician Don Cherry) collaborated musically with Ari Up of The Slits and was even a member of the band at one time. [BTW, I know I’m cheating, this song came out in 1989 but it’s sooo 90s]
Unfinished Sympathy-Massive Attack
I lack the skills to do a proper music review so I’ll leave this one to the BBC:
Mention “Unfinished Sympathy” to anyone who has ever visited a nightclub and the chances are their eyes will immediately mist over. More than a decade after its release it remains one of the most moving pieces of dance music ever, able to soften hearts and excite minds just as keenly as a ballad by Bacharach or a melody by McCartney…“Unfinished Sympathy” starts with a simple, footstep-like beat reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” but then bursts into life with a Spector-esque wall of strings and percussion. Shara Nelson’s wonderful rich vocals rise above the simple ascending/descending chord structure and make it clear that while this may be electronic music, it has just as much soul as anything to have ever come out of Detroit.
All I know is when I first heard this song on the radio, I was floored. It was unlike anything I’d heard before and I was completely enchanted by it. The video is also a nice treat, capturing a small bit of early 90s Los Angeles ambiance as singer Shara Nelson walks down Pico Blvd. It was ground breaking for being filmed in one continuous shot and produed a charmless imitation a few years later.