No Mere Imitation

Look, even NPR Music pointed out the following information in a recent review, so it’s not as though your Austin Music Minute is telling tales out of school. But…there have been those critics who have snidely dismissed ’80s-era R&B as lame, watered-down, or bereft of soul – that last one being the most caustic critique of all. However, if you were growing up in the ’80s, surely you’ll see the fallacy of this assumption. To refer to all ’80s R&B as collectively soulless when the roster includes Janet Jackson, Sade, Tina Turner, and – hellooo?Prince, is to completely miss the mark. Lisa Lisa or TLC may not necessarily be your jam, but the grooves could be just as addictive, just as seductive.

Being the artistic goddess that Meshell Ndegeocello is, you very quickly realize the kind of unique experience she brings to her latest release, Ventriloquism, which features a collection of covers of a few of the aforementioned ‘80s-era gems, in a most refreshing and reinvigorating way. Suffice to say, this is no ordinary cover album. Two very important factors come into play: The brilliant way Ndegeocello covers these songs, and the very track selection itself – Prince, Sade, Turner, Jackson, George Clinton, Lisa Lisa, and featured on today’s AMM, Al B. Sure!.

Dang. Don’t miss out on Meshell Ndegeocello, performing tonight at 3Ten, 310 Willie Nelson Blvd., with special guest opener, Hanna Benn. Doors open at 7 p.m. Very recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

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