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Review: Meshell Ndegeocello’s Devil’s Halo

Meshell Ndegeocello's Devil's Halo

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We’re here to review Meshell Ndegeocello’s Devil’s Halo, which was released today, October 6th on Downtown Records.  It contains twelve songs, which will expand your expectations of her. This is her eighth album, if I am correct.  I may be wrong since there are albums which were released in Japan, then here.  She is a very prolific artist, which is a gift from above for her fans.   She has many albums that just don’t fit a description, and that’s ok.  So, I’m not going to try and imprison her music, style and vision to my perceived thoughts.  Yes, it’s that deep.

The first notion that you should toss away, like your unused cell phone minutes.  You are not going to hear a hook of the song title with in the song.  Sounds strange that you have to explain that, but it’s sad that it’s required.  We get so accustomed to music being presented to us in a certain way, but when we receive it in a new format, we find it odd, instead of refreshing.  The second notion is that a song must be a certain length. If you think of each song as an entity upon its self, and think of a song’s brevity as way to strengthen it.  You will be able to truly understand and enjoy this album.

The first song that strikes me, and gently tugs at my soul is “Tie One On”.  It’s a poetic song that journeys through a tale of a bar filled with loneliness and desperation.  The faint echo of her voice carries each verse with meaning, that is more than itself.  With just a guitar, drum and further along a piano, they add power to each verse.

“Hair Of The Dog” is a song that fans of “Comfort Woman” will love.  It has more of that astral echo, that gives the song space and depth.  This is one example of the short songs, but it just makes you focus and really enjoy each moment and sound that much more.

This next song “Love You Down” is a cover of a song by Ready For The World from 1986.  Meshell’s version of this song would make Prince jealous.  The sensuality, coupled with the relaxed tempo makes it steam.  Like it’s been reduced down to it’s essence, and injected into your ears slowly.  Yes, it’s that good.

One of my favorite songs is “Blood On The Curb”.  It makes me think that The Psychedelic Furs, became the band for Meshell.  You can feel the angst in her voice. This song really shows the varied styles contained in the album.

If you liked any of her previous albums, you’ll love this one.  If you are a new fan, this album is a definite buy. Just be open and enjoy.  With an album so forward in it’s thought, I only desire one thing.  That’s to see the direction of her next album.  Will she expand on any of these experiments and reveal even more of her self to us?  This album is available on iTunes and Amazon.  Enjoy.

Review: N’Dambi’s Pink Elephant

N'Dambi Pink Elephant

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Today is a great day for Soul music lovers.  We have albums from Meshell Ndegeocello and N’Dambi, and singles from new aspiring artists.  After almost four years since her release of “A Weird Kinda Girl” in Japan on CoCo Red Music, N’Dambi has released a twelve track album “Pink Elephant”.  This album is released by Stax Records, who also is home to Teena Marie, the late Isaac Hayes, and Will Downing, among others.

Now you may ask, what’s the deal?  Is it worth picking up? I can answer that confidently with a YES for fans, and a maybe with new listeners.  Let me explain.  I’m an uber fan of Soul music, and digest large amounts of Soul music on a weekly basis. I compare, search for rare, and contemplate Soul music. When I first listened to this album, I was confused.  The first song “L.I.E.”, was an anomaly, since it didn’t have the feel of a first track of an album.  For example, Ledisi’s “Lost & Found” first song “Been Here” is a perfect example of a great “lead in” to the album. I thought that “L.I.E.” didn’t “lead in” to the album and establish the environment for the rest of the songs.  I was a bit confused and wrong, since I didn’t know what expect from the rest of the album.  After listening to the whole album, do I understand and appreciate the style and concept of it.

To best describe this album, is that it’s a book of different stories, by different writers, but with the same voice. Each song tells a story, but it tells it in a form of Soul that compliments that story.  For example the relaxed tempo of “L.I.E.” lends itself to the story of a man with two lives that are connected via the Long Island Expressway.  One of my favorites of the album is “Nobody Jones”.  It’s more of upbeat, than “L.I.E.”, and tells of a woman that dreams of a more exciting life.  This is the track that I think really showcases N’Dambi’s voice and what she has to separate her from other singers. Oh, that cow bell is kicking in this song.

The next song is “Ooo Baby”, and is a prime example of her Soul style changing from song to song.  If you close your eyes, you can see Levert from about twenty years ago, behind her in white suits,  snapping their fingers, and grooving to the rhythm.  This song will get the mood right, if it isn’t there already.

The first single from the album is”Can’t Hardly Wait” (clean version video below).  There are two versions of this song.  I prefer the NSFW version (Not Safe For Work) myself.  In the clean version, “Fussing” has replaced “F*!king”. Besides that small change, the song is one of the best of the album.  I really can’t place the influence for this song, but I can appreciate the bass guitar in it.

Overall, I like the album.  I don’t regret buying, but again I’m a uber fan.  If this your first time hearing N’Dambi, I would suggest picking up “Lost Little Girl Blues” from 1999.  Then move up from there.  Then you can realize what’s being done in “Pink Elephant”. Now if you are a fan, it’s no question.  What are you waiting for?  It’s available all over at iTunes and Amazon.  Enjoy.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAPPVoJcVwk