Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, by Me'Shell Ndegéocello (Maverick). Fantastic reviews for the latest from the bass-playing soul sister. As ever, "Ndegéocello (pronounced n-day-gay-o-chello) has remained an artist more concerned with making music for both the heart and head, instead of the cash register" (Renee Graham, the Boston Globe). Ndegéocello garners comparisons to Prince for her "incipient wisdom and/or informed perspective about love, sex, religion and social politics" (Gerald Poindexter, the San Diego Union-Tribune); Rolling Stone's Arion Berger writes, "[p]owerful, beautiful, sensual and activist, this is the record Prince keeps trying to make." Featuring vocal samples of Gil Scott-Heron and Angela Davis, this may be the most politically aware album to have music "as fiery and sensual as a new lover" (Graham). (Click here for a short biography of Ndegéocello. Did you know she has been a Bass Guitar magazine cover girl? Buy.)— B.W.
The Last Broadcast, by the Doves (Capitol). Radiant reviews for the Machester trio's much-awaited second album. "Wow," writes Fortune's Chris Nashawaty: "Just wow." "In stark contrast to their quietly affecting 2000 debut, this disc finds [the sometimes gloomy band] in uplifting spirits" and that "amalgamation of emotions helps make Broadcast perhaps the darkest feel-good record of the year" (Brian M. Raftery, Entertainment Weekly). But despite the melancholy that keeps them British, the band "reveal a sweet pop soul that is more Beatles than brooding" (Josh Tyrangiel, Time). In fact, the "soothing but not lulling tranquility amid songs filled with little epiphanies could vault the Doves onto the Radiohead-like plateau that many critics have predicted" (Steve Morse, the Boston Globe). (Visit the Doves' Web site. Buy.)— A.B.
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