• Blank Project

In the annals of improbable pop-music career revivals, few have been as welcome or as gratifying as Neneh Cherry’s. The stepdaughter of jazz great Don Cherry released a couple commercially successful albums in the late 80s and early 90s (Raw Like Sushi and Homebrew) before working sporadically over the next 20 years. Last year her career got an unexpected jolt with the release of The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound), a collaboration with Scandinavian free-jazz group the Thing, a favorite among many music critics (the Reader‘s own Peter Margasak placed it on his year-end list). This year she released the Four Tet-produced Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound), an album that I like even more. Cherry plays at the Pitchfork Music Festival on Friday—she might not be the biggest draw of the weekend, but I’d urge everyone to check out her set for what might be the festival’s biggest surprise. It’s hard to pick a favorite track off of Blank Project—as an album it works best when listened to all the way through—but for today’s 12 O’Clock Track I’m going to go with “Out of the Black,” a collaboration with the Swedish pop genius Robyn. The street-tough, sultry, and occasionally spacey number is one of the best things either artist has ever done.