London-based Seraphina Simone releases warning against consumerism with debut single “Cherry”.
As the daughter of Terence Trent D’Arby, it may come as no surprise that Seraphina Simone possesses a great musicality; it’s in her blood. Currently based in London but having spent much of her childhood in California due to her father’s music career, she has experienced and developed a strong opinion about consumerism and capitalism in the modern age. Behold, synth-pop gem “Cherry”. This debut track is released with the support of the PRS Foundation and their Women Make Music offshoot.
Speaking more specifically about the inspiration for the track, Seraphina Simone commented “‘Cherry’ is the voice in our heads telling us we don’t have enough, telling us to want more, buy more, be richer, be thinner, be prettier, be better than everyone else. It’s that sarky bitch who’s really mean to you and you hate her but you also kind of want to be her best friend because she’s perfect and you’re a mess. It’s the voice fuelled by consumer culture and jealousy and insecurity and myths like the American Dream. It seems harmless enough even though it fucks up the planet and makes us miserable no matter how much we have. Maybe in a weird way Covid will make us realise we don’t need so much shit to be happy.”
This aim is laid out in the opening of the track. We hear a snippet from an 80’s Cherry Cola commercial, before listening to the satisfyingly syrupy sound of a can being opened and fizzing delicately. Against this fizzing and some sombre keyboard chords, Seraphina Simone croons “Coat me in sugar so I slip down sweet/Baby I’ll whisper to you while you sleep/I’m Cherry, Cherry, and I taste so sweet.”
Opening a track about mindless consumerism and the way in which advertising seeps into our everyday lives in this way is pure excellence. “Cherry” has the heft of an 80’s power ballad with a modern edge. It’s positively dripping in self-awareness and delivered in such a way that you can hear Seraphina Simone’s wry smile. It’s not too often that you’ll hear a pop song actively satirising the capitalist society that we live in. Maybe because pop music is a part of it.
At the minute mark, when the synths kick in, the effect is one of taking off. The song is elevated into a marching, driving pop song. The nostalgic sounding “do be do wop” in the background evokes the absurdity of advertising and its pervasive, aspirational nature. This isn’t only highlighted by the soundscape but also by Seraphina Simone’s cutting lyrics such as “I’m Cherry and I’ve got you on your knees” and “You’ll never feel these chains/because baby I’m in your brain.”
Closing “Cherry” off with the sound of a warped record player winding itself down, it acts as a musical reflection of the way in which consumerism is frazzling people’s minds. “Cherry” is an all-round thoughtful pop track about the very system in which the modern world works.