Meshell Ndegeocello's versatility as an artist has made her one of music's least predictable stars: She's been a sultry soul singer, a pop-rock hitmaker, a house diva and a space-jazz explorer, not to mention a bassist for The Rolling Stones and Madonna. As a performer and a songwriter, Ndegeocello is a true seeker, always in pursuit of a surprise.
On her new, Joe Henry-produced album Weather . . . Ndegeocello indulges her soulful alt-pop side, expanding on the quieter and more sensual moments of 2009's Devil's Halo. Pairing seductive, Sade-esque vocals with catchy downtempo arrangements, she crafts some seriously affecting torch songs here. Though many of the tracks on Weather convey a sweet soul jangle, they're most affecting when Ndegeocello slows the tempo to the speed of a tender first kiss.
Alternating between expressions of insecurity and brash self-assuredness, Ndegeocello is at her sinewy best here. The heartbreak evoked by 'Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear' is stunning, but the real accomplishment lies in the way the music captures the unique sensation of driving past an old lover's house and not being able to shake that feeling of longing, no matter how much time has passed.
Appropriately titled, Weather captures the complex and unpredictable emotions that accompany intimacy, desire and alienation. They're feelings as familiar and as old as time itself, but as this gorgeous, moving album makes clear, they still have the power to surprise and even terrorize. --NPR First Listen, Mario Cotto, October 30, 2011
Weather is her most consistently strong album in some time, a product of vision and discipline --The New York Times
Every musical stroke is a concise yet instinctive caress; there's no grandstanding, but plenty of sensual vulnerability... Ndegeocello sings of longing and commitment while the bonsai-scaled instrumentation offers countermelodies to the gods. --Spin Magazine
Weather finds the eclectic songwriter expanding on her iconic style, a lush album of intimate songwriting. Produced by Grammy-winner Joe Henry (Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Ani DiFranco), Weather is the latest addition to Meshell's diverse catalog. A strikingly organic record, the album finds Meshell experimenting with the sparse, orchestral melodies paired with thoughtful lyrics, all performed by a band of fearsome musicians. The album opens with the title track 'Weather,' a spacey, soulful groove that sets the stage for the rest of the record. Tracks like 'Oysters' and her cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Chelsea Hotel' find Meshell constructing hushed ballads, centered around mournful piano. These tracks are juxtaposed with Meshell's defiant, soulful stomps on songs like 'Rapid Fire' and 'Dirty World.' The album also features all-star collaborations with the likes of Chris Connelly (ex-Revolting Cocks, Ministry), Benji Hughes, and Joe Henry.