Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance (1988)
- 80's score: 2.45
“Buffalo Stance” is a 1988 single recorded by Swedish singer Neneh Cherry, released from her debut ...
“Buffalo Stance” is a 1988 single recorded by Swedish singer Neneh Cherry, released from her debut album, Raw Like Sushi. The song peaked at No. 3 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100, and it reached No. 1 in her native Sweden and the Netherlands. An early version of the song appeared as the B-side on the 1986 Stock, Aitken, and Waterman-produced single “Looking Good Diving” by duo Morgan-McVey, which was made up of Jamie Morgan and Cherry’s future husband Cameron McVey. The song, titled “Looking Good Diving with the Wild Bunch”, was sung by Cherry.
The song title refers to “Buffalo”, a group of photographers, models, musicians, hair and makeup artists, etc. formed by fashion stylist Ray Petri, of which group Cherry, Morgan, and McVey were all members. A buffalo stance is, Cherry told The New York Times, “an attitude you have to have in order to get by. It’s not about fashion but about survival in inner cities and elsewhere.” The song’s title is also a reference to the Malcolm McLaren song “Buffalo Gals” (1983), which “Buffalo Stance” samples. Other samples came from Rock Steady Crew’s “Hey You”, and the saxophone break is from the band Miami’s song “Chicken Yellow” (1974).
Tim Simenon, also called “Bomb the Bass”, was asked to help with the reworking of the song. Cherry pays homage to Simenon during the song’s breaks with “Yeah, Timmy! Tell it like it is!” and “Bomb the Bass, rock this place!”
Cherry notably performed the song live on Top of the Pops while seven months pregnant. When asked by a reporter if it were safe for her to go up on stage performing, Cherry answered: “Yes, of course! It’s not an illness.”
Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club described the song as an “unstoppable, electro-hip-hop hybrid”. She wrote, “With smart samples and swaggering production from Bomb the Bass—not to mention fiercely feminist lyrics that demand respect and assert independence—“Buffalo Stance” remains one of the best singles of the ’80s.” Angus Taylor for BBC noted “its undulating synths, You go girl! sentiments and killer hooks is every bit the floor-filler it was ten years ago.” Kieran Yates from The Guardian called it a “punchy manifesto”. People wrote in their review, that “over a prominent drum-machine beat and minimal synthesized accompaniment, her raw voice half-sings, half-raps, mock-tough lyrics.” They added that “when she sticks to that formula, singing about infatuation and seduction on the city’s mean sidewalks” as on “Buffalo Stance”, “she’s fresh and inviting.” Pop Rescue commented that “it’s (OMG!) got a female rapper, record scratching, and a fast beat, and this was a fresh sound. Only Salt-N-Pepa could have got close.” Lesley Chow from The Quietus said that on the song, “Cherry already comes across as a fully formed artist: powerful and casually multicultural, as we might expect from an African-Swedish singer raised in Yorkshire and Long Island.” She added that it is “a song of many moods, as Cherry goes on to alternate between anger and softness, anti-materialism and a high fashion attitude. A rising synth figure bubbles us up to a heavenly chorus (“No money man can win my love/ It’s sweetness that I’m thinking of”) which shows a rare tenderness in the narrator. Even though the track has been unrelenting up to now, the bubbling and the melody expose an underlying effervescence.”