on 5 July 2000
Just why Me'Shell doesn't have a huge following in this country beats me. I first heard her music on a Manchester pirate radio station during 1994. This introduction came in the form of the superb 'I'm Diggin' You' and 'Step into the Projects'. The rest of her first CD, 'Plantation Lullabies' proved to be just as sweet, soulful and funky, many tracks meriting being cranked up for optimum enjoyment.
The subsequent release of Peace Beyond Passion demonstrated a sleeker, more rocky, but still soulful style - this one just grew and grew on me but both CDs have easily stood the test of time, 'Peace...' particularly sounding as fresh as it was at the time of its release.
Me'Shell has a rare talent (simultaneously playing bass and singing! ) taking you from tender ballad to grooves which grab you and nail you to the floor - all this combined with intelligent lyrics! She deserves fame and all the trimmings it brings....
on 19 February 2000
While Me'shell Ndegeocello's second album lacks the raw energy of Plantation Lullabies (1993) it makes up the gap with high production values. Her second collaboration with David Gamson (who, amongst other things, is credited on the album with "Atmosphere"), Peace Beyond Passion is put together with impeccable precision. Again, Ndegeocello surrounds herself with a fine set of musicians - including collaborator Wendy Melvoin and Joshua Redman on "horn section"
With the hindsight of having heard her third release Bitter (1999), it seems that Ndegeocello is trying to find a way to voice more cerebral and personal topics. Meditating on the collision of inherited religious values with sexuality and race she touches nerves and (intentionally?) courts controversy. But her anger is directed towards things external. It is the tracks that turn inwards that really stand out - "Stay" and the Bill Withers cover "Who is he (and what is he to you?)" both burn slow grooves that will have you cranking your stereo.
Me'shell Ndegeocello is not well known in the UK as yet - this probably has more to do with poor promotion by her label than anything else - but her music has a timeless quality that fully merits repeated listening.
on 21 December 2002
This is the Me'shell album you have to own! I bought it back when it came out and it still sounds so good. Nu-soul was doing very well back in the mid-late 90s, with superb albums from Maxwell and Erykah Badu. Like those albums, this one is a definite classic soul/funk album. Me'shell's first big record was "Diggin you (like an old school record)", which was great, but she took things to new levels on "Peace Beyond Passion". Every track is so strong! Energy and passion courses through the veins of this album. Whether fast or slow, bitter or sweet, Me'shell excites. She went off the boil on "Bitter", but having seen her do a storming gig at the Jazz Cafe recently I think she might have returned to form on her latest album -- only one way to find out, better get that credit card...