My Top 20 Songs of 2012 #7: Neneh Cherry & The Thing – ‘Dream Baby Dream’

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This cover of an old Suicide track was the best track on ‘The Cherry Thing’, Neneh Cherry’s distinctly odd and at times astonishing collaboration with ‘The Thing’.

The Thing are a Norwegian punk-influenced free-jazz trio, named after a track on an old Don Cherry (Neneh’s step-father) LP. Whether they genuinely set out to work with Cherry (her mellifluous vocals don’t exactly lend themselves to chaotic free-jazz and their previous collaborators include Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke), or whether this was merely a vicarious thrill, it hardly mattered when you heard Dream Baby Dream.

It’s a beautiful, hypnotic version of Suicide’s original track. Whereas the original sounded like Alan Vega was having an amphetamine-fuelled breakdown, Cherry’s version is bewitchingly serene. Once the saxophone finally drops the hook and goes into a full on freak out, you genuinely won’t want this song to end. It puts me into one of Howard Moon’s famous jazz trances. It’s over 8 minutes long, but I could easily listen to another 18 minutes.

P.S. the Four Tet remix isn’t too shabby, either

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