Meshell Ndegeocello / RnB / SOUL

Devil’s Halo – MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO – 2009


This is 19 years from the last album of Meshell that I reviewed. 19 years….that’s a long time. Since then we have had the internet take over our lives, 9/11, the fall and fall of Michael Jackson, the biggest selling films of all time, the biggest natural disasters in a long time and what not. Yet Meshell‘s music is curiously unevolved. Yes, there is a bigger electronica element, and the tones of the instruments are generally much more metallic. All this helps on the fast songs, especially the very enjoyable “Lola”. But frankly, thats the only interesting song I find on this album. There are a flat spots even in the slower songs, like “Mass Transit”.

Meshell‘s music is curiously unevolved since Bitter

Its good to add more dynamics in terms of speed, but if it is only done at an intellectual level, it ruins the effect. On this album, for instance, most of the fast and slow songs are alternating in the running order. Why, exactly? That might look good on paper, but it throws the listener off balance, especially when none of the songs are actually that strong. As a result, the relatively plodding Bitter is a good egg compared to this.
In terms of musical style, I’d say this album is basically an R n B album with a fire up its chuff. That means faster rhythms, occasional reggae feels, like in “White Girls”, slightly incongruous electronic sounds on occasion, but an overall very modern feel. The production, too, is impeccable. But it still remembers to slow down (on every alternate track), and have the usual finger-clickery and woe-is-me-wallowing-in-sadness which sometimes becomes a bit of a parody of the whole RnB genre itself.

Ok, I think I have described this album enough. I need to come clean. I don’t like this album. Period. There is too much going on. Too much arrangement, too little by way of hooks or melodies that catch my ear. And mind you, I don’t pass this verdict whimsically, I’ve heard this two times over, and carefully, before saying this. Simply, this does’nt sound right.

- El Bajista

More MESHELL reviews HERE.

More RnB reviews HERE.

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