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  Listen Up! 6/11/02 Listen Up!

Tuesday, June 11

Meshell Ndegeocello, “Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape,” Maverick Records. What’s she doing? This doesn’t sound like Meshell. There’s all sorts of guest vocals, and the vocals are generally buried in the mix, and there’s nothing you can hum or remember after it’s over. The bass playing is great, the grooves are all right, but I’m not sure if I can grow to like this or not. She’s going for a psuedo-Funkadelic vibe, a low-key groove thang with some presumably political lyrics that I didn’t catch. I don’t know, really, I don’t know. It’s not terrible, but it’s not what I was expecting at all.

Robert Plant, “Dreamland” Advance Sampler, Universal Records. The idea of Plant’s upcoming solo album is to feature “fresh interpretations of classic moments from American blues, 60’s folk-rock and the west coast psychedelic era.” The songs here aren’t bad. I really dug the wild version of Bukka White’s “Funny In My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die),” which sounds something like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s band playing the blues. His big production is reserved for “Darkness, Darkness,” which brings the old Led Zep style of bigger and bigger sound as the song goes along (you remember “Stairway to Heaven,” right?) Plant’s voice is nicely raspy in his old age; no more castrati screaming for him.

--Steve Pick



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