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Published: 2007/10/22
by Brad Farberman

The World Has Made Me The Man of My Dreams – Meshell Ndegeocello

Emarcy

In all likelihood, bass goddess Meshell Ndegeocello (pronounced “N-day-gay-O-cello,” according to Billboard) is best known for her appearance on John Mellencamp’s cover of “Wild Night” (remember the video?).

This is unfortunate, for a couple of reasons. First off, Mellencamp is kind of lame (although, in all fairness, the “Wild Night” cover is good). Secondly, Ndegeocello is an incredible talent, with a bunch of unique and thrilling albums under her belt; mainstream recognition of her musical prowess should extend beyond her work on a John Mellencamp tune.

Sadly, this is not the case. Happily, she’s got a new album out. And on The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams, Ndegeocello does what she does best: something unexpected.

Fresh off the success of 2005’s The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance Of The Infidel, a largely instrumental disc of jazz and futurefunk (featuring heavyweights like Don Byron and Cassandra Wilson), the bassist/vocalist/composer/anything and everythingist has concocted her version of a rock album. Which, of course, is light years away from typical rock and/or roll. Ndegeocello’s music here, as always, features healthy doses of electronica, dub, jazz, soul and funk. This one just rocks a little harder.

And weirder. On “The Sloganeer: Paradise,” the leader sets a punk rock bass line atop a live drum & bass groove courtesy of skinsman Deantoni Parks (Kudu, The Mars Volta). She dips into a trippy reggae on “Lovely Lovely,” warning the listener to be “careful of who and what you let in your mind.” On “Elliptical,” it’s slow jam time, with the soulful Sy Smith on vocals, and Ndegeocello’s behind-the-beat bass bubbling below. “Relief: A Stripper Classic” finds the leader in Prince mode, musing over a slow rock riff with young guns Mark Kelley (bass) and Robert Glasper (piano) along for the ride. Dig The World like an old soul record.

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