Neneh Cherry, recently announced her fifth solo studio album Broken Politics. Recently, she has shared songs about the European refugee crisis (“Kong”) and the worldwide tragedy of gun violence (“Shot Gun Shack”) all produced by frequent collaborator Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet).
Today, she shares the video for album track “Natural Skin Deep”. The video was director by rising artist and filmmaker Akinola Davies aka Crack Stevens. Akin’s work focuses on socio-political issues. He’s made music videos for Blood Orange (“Charcoal Baby”) Klein, (“Marks Of Worship”), as well as films for fashion brands like Kenzo. As an artist, he has exhibited at Art Basel in Switzerland.
Akinola Davies on “Natural Skin Deep”;
We filmed the video with a large and beautiful cast in Beiruit, Lebanon. Much of my work is community centric, be it global or local community. It’s important that we all see ourselves reflected in art. Equally it’s about whether our relationship with materialism is making us more apathetic to what’s going on around us? Neneh being this global icon and the name of the album being called ‘Broken Politics’ lent itself to having more intent within the various themes. There is a lot going on in video truth be told, I went to see Neneh play at Village Underground and everyone whipped out their phones to film her, so much so I got asked by this guy to move because I was in the way of his phone. Seemed quite ironic that the world is right here in front of us, really 360 degree drama. Instead of communicating through screens maybe we’re all consuming it through screens.
“Natural Skin Deep” is a propulsive break-driven piece of trip hop. Four Tet has sampled Ornette Coleman’s 1969 track “Growing Up” for the breakdown, which features Don Cherry on cornet (in a nod to Neneh’s stepfather). Lyrically, Neneh is unrelenting in aiming her barbs at colonization; “Here’s one for The Great Sioux Nation/ Bla bla bla for a generation/ no living on station/ pumping that black gold over the hill/ recycle evolution while killing free will, free will”.
In Akin’s film, citizens hold up their smartphones illuminating the scene as they simultaneously watch through it through their screens, as Neneh performs the track at various locations in Beirut.
1. Fallen Leaves
3. Poem Daddy
4. Synchronised Devotion
5. Deep Vein Thrombosis
6. Faster Than The Truth
7. Natural Skin Deep
8. Shot Gun Shack
9. Black Monday
10. Cheap Breakfast Special
11. Slow Release