Meshell Ndegeocello, 'Weather' (Naive)

8
Weather
Critical Mass
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Label: Naive

by Barry Walters

After kick-starting neo-soul in the '90s, this chimerical bassist shimmied through countless genres as if to dodge and defy any tag -- racial, gender, sexual, aesthetic. Here, she teams with producer Joe Henry for a somber mood piece that plays the introspection of singer-songwriter folk as meditative jazz. Every musical stroke is a concise yet instinctive caress; there's no grandstanding, but plenty of sensual vulnerability that culminates in a Zen-like cover of the Soul Children's "Don't Take My Kindness for Weakness." On the way, Ndegeocello sings of longing and commitment while the bonsai-scaled instrumentation offers countermelodies to the gods.

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