With a career spanning 20 years, Meshell Ndegeocello’s musical capacity has grown to such lengths that she is capable of releasing an album that is just as well-rounded as it is sincere. The bassist/vocalist’s ninth studio album, Weather, reflects this as an audacious compilation of carefully arranged instrumentals under reflective lyrics.
Ndegeocello is not shy about letting the pulse of a song run full force. She begins the album with the title track, the guitar intro reminiscent of a country song, before her husky vocals slide over the top proclaiming that when various event occur throughout life, “We can always blame it on the weather.” Weather accurately discusses the joys and trials of life without being annoyingly overbearing. The idea that similar to the weather, life fluctuates from hot to cold, sunny to rainy or icy is the premise of Ndegeocello’s message.
The master bassist has a way of evoking every emotion in her listener. In “Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” she sings about the memories of a lover that broke her heart. Every word of this sorrowful love song makes you feel as if you are her best friend hearing her tell the story on her living room couch. Not too many artists can make each song feel personal and honest the way she does.
Midway through the album, Ndegeocello performs an impressive version of “Chelsea Hotel,” originally performed by Leonard Cohen. She then experiments with sound on “Crazy And Wild,” singing the lyrics simultaneously with an unidentified man. At one point in the song, she sings completely different words at the same time as her male accomplice. Despite the distracting nature of the song, it’s this type of innovative engineering that has given Ndegeocello such longevity in the business, and has allowed her the freedom to never conform.