On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Youssou N’Dour featuring Neneh Cherry – 7 Seconds (1994)
” 7 Seconds” is a song composed by Youssou N’Dour, Neneh Cherry, Cameron McVey, and Jonathan Sharp. It was released in 1994 as a single performed by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry and achieved much success, reaching the number-one position in numerous countries; in France it stayed at number one for 16 weeks, a record at the time.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and combining two countries together. From Senegal we have Youssou N’Dour making his second appearance on our list and from Sweden we have Neneh Cherry, also joining us for the second occasion. It’s 1994 and the two singers have come together in New York to work together on a duet, one that would be sung in not one, not two, but three languages. We are, of course, talking about 7 Seconds.
7 Seconds sees Youssou N’Dour singing in both French and Wolof (a West African language). Neneh Cherry sings entirely in English. The song appears to address the issue of prejudice and hatred that separates us as human beings. Racism seems to be a prevalent theme here but the song hints at other isms as well. The title of “7 Seconds” has been confirmed by Neneh Cherry to refer to the opening seconds of a newborn baby’s life, that crucial moment in time when they are innocent, untainted by the cruel world that we share as one race. The song comes across as a cautionary tale that only in addressing our conflicting perspectives and overcoming them to forge a peaceful and harmonious path can we one day hope for those 7 seconds to be longer.
7 Seconds was a brave track with its use of 3 languages and the artists themselves believed it to be an experimental collaboration. You wouldn’t have expected the song to generate airplay but it did. 7 Seconds proved to be a huge success and the biggest hit for both artists of their careers. I wasn’t sure of its meaning until I researched this post but its significance has become much clearer now.
Favourite songs so far: