Woozy reggae, slow-burn R&B, a spacey cover of Whodini's early-'80s rap classic "Friends": This is just some of the ground Meshell Ndegeocello covers on her adventurous new album. But a broad canvas is business as usual for this singer-bassist, who first bent mainstream ears 20 years ago when she joined John Mellencamp for a hit cover of "Wild Night" by Van Morrison; more recently, she's undertaken deeply considered tributes to Prince, Fats Waller and Nina Simone.
On "Comet, Come to Me," her first set of original songs since 2011's folky "Weather," Ndegeocello ponders the end of a romance in typically unflinching language: "There's nothing between us except the feeling of nothing," she sings in "Tom." Yet the music, sculpted by players including blues guitarist Doyle Bramhall and L.A. roots rocker Jonathan Wilson, keeps finding life in fresh sounds.
"Comet, Come to Me"