Wednesday, January 04, 2006

earCandy: Me'Shell NdegeOcello - Comfort Woman (2003) 5/5

Me'Shell NdegeOcello (try saying that three times fast!) is one of my favourite musical artists. Billed early on as the female Prince, she is a fantastic bass player, vocalist, composer, and lyricist. With each of her albums (she released her sixth since 1993 last year), she has evolved in a different direction while maintaining a level of musicianship and lyrical forthrightness that is a true rarity in the industry.

Comfort Woman shows us a (mostly) calmer and more relaxed Me'Shell. The relative lessening of politically charged uber-funk/hip-hop tunes has been replaced by a focus on deep grooves and "dub"-y atmospheric pieces. The music is sensual and the production values are top notch, with Me'Shell's powerful sexuality in full force. The following quote from allmusic.com is apt: "...if Me'Shell NdegeOcello's Comfort Woman isn't regarded as one of the finest contemporary soul albums of 2003, then those who review music for a living had better get eardrum transplants and a transfusion of blood to get rid of the sawdust, or quit to sell used cars, work in a fast-food establishment, or pump gas." As that review goes on to say, this is late night music, not without energy in the least but possessing a moody easiness that envelops the listener.

The spacey reggae feel of the opening Love Song #1 sets the tone for the rest of the album, followed by the fabulous Come Smoke My Herb, and a host of other fantastic cuts: Andromeda & the Milky Way is one of my favourites, and the beautiful acoustic guitar driven Liliquoi Moon, without seeming out of place, harkens back more to Me'Shell's Bitter album (probably my least favourite album of hers - it is bitter in more than title). Comfort Woman knows what it is and where it's going from the first note, and succeeds wonderfully in delivering. If you're looking for some undeniably cool tracks to play as the party is winding down, or just something to sit back and listen to in dim lighting, then look no further.
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1/04/2006 08:38:00 PM  

2 Comments:

Anonymous Peter D. said...

I just discovered Me'Shell while watching the fantastic DVD "In The Shadow of Motown." Wow, her singing blows me away. I just downloaded the song "Beautiful" via iTunes.

I really enjoyed reading your description of her, Jeff. Insightful.

I'm hoping to hear some songs featuring her bass playing. I'll do that next.

August 26, 2006 2:03 AM  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Yeah, she is fantastic and as capable a bassist as she is a vocalist. The only album I don't own of hers is "Bitter", which is a little more acoustic (and, well, bitter), but everything else I can recommend highly.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff

August 26, 2006 8:37 AM  

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