'Weather' is a very special release in every way! Meshell Ndegeocello is an
American singer/songwriter who has been making music for a good few years
(her debut 'Plantation Lullabies' was released in 1993) but this is my
first experience of her work; something I need to attend to forthwith!
The album is a wonderfully grown-up offering; complex, sophisticated but
eminently approachable and deeply satisfying. What a spectacular voice she
has; warm, easy on the ear and with an indefinable quality which, although
melancholic in nature, quickly gets under your skin and won't let go.
There are thirteen tracks in the collection but I feel anything but unlucky
to have had the opportunity to get to know them. Listening to the lovely
song 'Oysters' achieves something simple but deeply moving in its hushed
intensity. The kind of song which makes you breathe slowly and quietly so as
not to break the sublime mood for even a moment. A song to hold and treasure.
Final song, the bluesy 'Don't Take My Kindness For Weakness', too, displays
a precious fragility which tugs the heartstrings with its unaffected honesty.
Ms Ndegeocello know how to swing too however. 'Chance' has the kind of crisp
harmonies and beats which make one want to dance outside in the rain! (The
work of Gail Ann Dorsey - another bass player and writer of prodigious and
underrated talent - came to mind for more than a moment). The elusive chord
sequences of 'Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear' dig deep into
stranger territory and her spin on Leonard Cohen's 'Chelsea Hotel' hangs in
the air like a prayer. If I were forced to choose one track to have and to
hold forever it would have to be the utterly beautiful 'Feeling For The Wall'.
It is a composition which, despite its stripped-down arrangement, is so full
of grace and restrained emotional power that it almost makes time stand still.
Beg, borrow or steal to hear it but please, please do hear it!
on 8 November 2011
I got Weather today and haven't stopped listening to it. With each listen, I love it more and each time my favorite track changes. There's something really familiar about the album and it feels like I've had it for ages but it's not because it sounds like anything that's come before it - more that it's Ndegeocello doing the music that I love her most for. If you like the early albums (Plantation Lullabies and Bitter and Cookies Anthology), this one's even better.
"Weather" hangs together briliiantly - my stand out track is "Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear" which is so filled with longing that it's painful. There are other beautiful songs too "Oysters" and "A Bitter Mule" particularly. "Dirty World" is low down (and dirty) and "Chance" is a definite shout along tune. In fact, there aren't any tracks that I don't like. Overall, it's a beautifully crafted album that ebbs and flows in all the right ways. If you're already a fan, buy. If you're not yet a fan, buy it anyway. It's brilliant either way.
on 24 July 2012
I was a little disappointed with Me'Shell NdegeOcello's last release "Devil's Halo" as I felt that it was much too short and that some of the songs were unfinished. Her ninth studio recording "Weather" is a much improved album as the compositions are very well written and arranged which is a relief as I was slightly worried that Me'Shell was starting to lose her ability to construct songs.
The title track "Weather" is a very sublte but quietly interesting Pop Rock song with peaceful vocal harmonies. "Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than What They Appear" has a much darker feel to it with a sombre string and bass combination which make this song sound very unique. "Feeling For The Wall" is a beautiful soft Pop Rock ballad with those deep soothing vocals from Me'Shell. "Chance" is a much faster paced song with a catchy melody and interesting piano driven chorus. "Oysters" is a melancholic piano led ballad with such a sweet melody. "Rapid Fire" is another sombre and hypnotic creation with a fantastic rhythm and chorus. "Chelsea Hotel", a beautiful balled originally penned by Leonard Cohen, is very nicely arranged with a distinctive Blues influence. "Dirty World" is an 80's influenced Punk Rock song with punchy lyrics. "A Bitter Mule" has a very drawn out feel to it as if it were written in slow motion, which adds to its strange atmospheric appeal. "Crazy And Wild" has a certain monotony about it, but also a delicate touch and an almost classical feel in parts which makes it quite intriguing, especially towards the end of the song. "La Petite Mort" has an addictive rhythm and melody with some wonderful vocal harmonies. The best song on this release for me is "Dead End" which has a fantastic Folk Rock rhythm with a great melody and arrangements - a real feel good song. The final track "Don't Take My Kindness For Weakness" is another subtle yet effective piano led ballad with a mesmerising melody and is my second favorite song.
"Weather" contains some well received surprises and is a breathe of fresh air as it is different and original, which is what I have come to expect from Me'Shell NdegeOcello. The arrangements on this recording are very subtle and not obvious on the first listen. This album is not instantaneously likeable, but it grows on you after a few listens at which point you begin to truly appreciate its qualities. One more superb record to add to the collection!