Devil's Halo

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Devil's Halo
Studio album by Me'Shell Ndegéocello
Released October 6, 2009
Recorded 2008–09
eightbitaudio (8BA)
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre Alternative rock[1]
Length 36:45
Label Mercer Street, Downtown
Producer Chris Bruce, Keith Ciancia, Me'Shell Ndegéocello
Me'Shell Ndegéocello chronology
The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams
(2007)
Devil's Halo
(2009)
Weather
(2011)

Devil's Halo is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Me'Shell Ndegéocello, released October 6, 2009, on Downtown Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2008 to 2009 at engineer S. Husky Höskulds's eightbitaudio (8BA) studio in Los Angeles, California. Produced by Ndegéocello, guitarist Chris Bruce, and keyboardist Keith Ciancia, Devil's Halo features an ominous theme of love and an eclectic fusion sound, incorporating musical elements of rock, pop, dub, and funk. Although it charted modestly, the album was well received by music critics upon its release.

Background[edit]

Produced by Ndegéocello, guitarist Chris Bruce, and keyboardist Keith Ciancia, the album was recorded during 2008 to 2009 at engineer S. Husky Höskulds's eightbitaudio (8BA) studio in Los Angeles, California.[2] Recorded with live instrumentation, it did not undergo digital post-production, which contributed to its raw and organic sound.[3]

Music[edit]

The Boston Globe's Sarah Rodman notes a "catholicity of sounds" on the album.[4] Jacqueline Smith of The New Zealand Herald noted its musical fusion, but ultimately viewed the album as rooted in soul music, writing that "though it channels everyone from Sade to Santana, it's an album of mostly soul - of the soul-baring kind".[5] The album's primary lyrical theme concerns the treachery of love and its bitter effects.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
The A.V. Club A−[8]
Detroit Free Press 3/4 stars[9]
The Independent 2/5 stars[10]
Mojo 2/5 stars[11]
musicOMH 4/5 stars[12]
The New Zealand Herald 4/5 stars[5]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
PopMatters 9/10[14]
The Times 4/5 stars[15]

Devil's Halo received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, based on seven reviews.[13] Allmusic's Thom Jurek praised Ndegéocello's musical vision and songwriting, stating "she hasn't been so nakedly vulnerable and brazenly honest on record as she is here".[7] Gary Graff of Billboard wrote that it "neatly straddles a line between challenging and accessible, with some of the tightest and catchiest compositions she's yet brought forth".[16] Andrew Burgess of musicOMH called it "achingly sensual and brutally violent".[12] Detroit Free Press writer Martin Bandyke called it "progressive but accessible".[9] Ed Potton of The Times commented that Ndegéocello's voice "resides somewhere between Sade and PJ Harvey".[15] Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post wrote that she "has rarely sounded stronger, and the disc's stripped-down approach accentuates her musical brawn".[17]

Q commented that "for all the fraughness there are unpredictable but always apposite moments of beauty".[13] The Huffington Post's Mike Ragogna called Devil's Halo "highly original" and praised Ndegéocello's songwriting for its "low key/high concept subject matter".[18] Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com commended "the mellow depth" of her voice and stated, "Like a world-weary muse, Ndegeocello taps into something rich and melancholy at the sludgy bottom of our hearts".[19] Tyler Lewis of PopMatters called it "the tightest, most emotionally potent work she’s produced since Bitter", but added that Devil's Halo has "a greater sense of perspective of life’s realities".[14] Noel Murray of The A.V. Club described it as "bracingly unpredictable and persistently enjoyable; it’s an art-soul record for those who like to be challenged while they’re tapping their toes. Or vice versa".[8]

In a mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent found the album's eclectic style inconsistent, stating "The songs seem to bleed into one another, with too much pointlessly flashy playing leading to polite jazz-rock hell. One's left yearning for a hummable melody that might imprint one of these songs upon one's memory".[10] Mojo felt that "lyrically her songs are as politically charged as ever, musically they're laboured experiments in style".[11] Robert Christgau of MSN Music rated the album a "dud" ((dud)),[20] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Slaughter"   Me'Shell Ndegéocello 2:38
2. "Tie One On"   Ndegéocello 2:31
3. "Lola"   Chris Bruce, Ndegéocello 3:11
4. "Hair of the Dog"   Keefus Ciancia, Keith Ciancia, Lisa Germano, Ndegéocello 1:41
5. "Mass Transit"   Bruce, Ndegéocello, Deantoni Parks 3:45
6. "White Girl"   Bruce, Ndegéocello 2:42
7. "Love You Down"   Melvin Riley 5:22
8. "Devil's Halo"   Yuval Lion, Ndegéocello 2:22
9. "Bright Shiny Morning"   Bruce, Eric Elterman, Ndegéocello 3:02
10. "Blood on the Curb"   Oren Bloedow, Ndegéocello 2:39
11. "Die Young"   Ciancia, K. Ciancia, Elterman, Ndegéocello 4:20
12. "Crying in Your Beer"   Bloedow, Bruce, Ndegéocello 2:35

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Oren Bloedow – vocals
  • Chris Bruce – banjo, bass, guitar
  • Keith Ciancia – keyboards
  • Lisa Germano – violin, cello
  • Me'Shell Ndegéocello – bass, keyboards, vocals
  • Deantoni Parks – drums

Production[edit]

  • Oren Bloedow – vocal arrangements
  • Chris Bruce – producer
  • Keith Ciancia – programming, producer
  • Eric Elterman – engineer
  • Me'Shell Ndegéocello – arranger, programming, producer
  • Bob Power – mastering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position[22]
US Billboard 200 185
US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 64
US Billboard Independent Albums 31

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coleman, Nick (April 25, 2010). "Album: Meshell Ndegeocello, Devil's Halo (Downtown)". The Independent (London). Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ Product Page: Devil's Halo. Muze. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  3. ^ Ratliff, Ben. Ugly Truths, Proclaimed Seductively. The New York Times. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  4. ^ Rodman, Sarah (October 20, 2009). "Making music on her own terms". The Boston Globe. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Jacqueline (March 20, 2010). "Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  6. ^ Mason, Rick (October 14, 2009). "Meshell Ndegeocello". City Pages. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "Devil's Halo - Meshell Ndegeocello". Allmusic. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Murray, Noel (November 10, 2009). "Meshell Ndegeocello: Devil's Halo". The A.V. Club. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Bandyke, Martin (October 3, 2009). "Roseanne Cash back in fine form". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Gill, Andy (April 23, 2010). "Album: Meshell Ndegeocelo, Devil's Halo (Downtown)". The Independent. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Columnist. "Meshell Ndegeocello: Devil's Halo". Mojo: 94. June 2010.
  12. ^ a b Burgess, Andrew (April 26, 2010). "Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo". musicOMH. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c Devil's Halo Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Lewis, Tyler (October 27, 2009). "Meshell Ndegeocello: Devil's Halo". PopMatters. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  15. ^ a b Potton, Ed (April 24, 2010). "Meshell Ndegeocello: Devil's Halo". The Times (London). Retrieved April 18, 2013.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ Graff, Gary (October 27, 2009). "Meshell Ndegeocello, 'Devil's Halo'". Billboard. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Mark (October 2, 2009). "CD Review: Meshell Ndegeocello's 'Devil's Halo'". The Washington Post. Retrieved on December 13, 2009.
  18. ^ Ragogna, Mike (October 5, 2009). "HuffPost Reviews: Alice In Chains, Rosanne Cash, Kiss, and more, plus a Brandi Carlile Interview, and This Week's New Albums". The Huffington Post. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  19. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (October 7, 2009). "Critics' Picks: Sade meets the Marquis de Sade". Salon.com. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  20. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 2010). "Consumer Guide (2010)". MSN Music. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  22. ^ Billboard Albums: Devil's Halo. Allmusic. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.

External links[edit]