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


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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