Me’Shell Ndegeocello – Comfort Woman

Underrated Basement Jaxx guest star's fifth album

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Still barely known here, Ndegeocello was the first signing to Madonna’s Maverick label. Comfort Woman is, loosely, her Let’s Get It On?a sensual, sumptuous overload. Much of the LP sounds hazily familiar?not just in its summation of elements from her previous work, but in its subtle nods to earlier black musics. “Body” layers half-whispered entreaties over a keyboard riff reminiscent of early-’70s Stevie W; the gentle sway of “Liliquoi Moon” erupts into choppy, Princely guitar histrionics, and “Love Song#3”, which seethes in a kind of fraught torpor, is like a narcotised Prince ballad. Sometimes, the combination of emotional/sexual imperatives and intoxicating languor even recalls Imagination’s delirious “Body Talk”. Ndegeocello’s unshowy voice flutters among swirling, dubby soundscapes that value mood and texture over actual tunes. At its least inspired, it’s worthy stodge; at its best, it’s a blissful surge.

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