Meshell Ndegeocello - Ventriloquism
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2018 Ratings: #179 / 851
User Score
Based on 51 ratings
2018 Ratings: #322
Liked by 1 person
March 16, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Naive / Label / Website
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Spectrum Culture

Ventriloquism is a thrill and a surprise, a set of 11 hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s that have been reimagined and turned inside out without losing the joy of the originals.

Slant Magazine

It turns commonly held conceptions of canon on their head, implicitly asks for a more inclusive understanding of song craft, and—most of all—celebrates a group of songs that resonate in a variety of contexts and arrangements.

The Independent
The results are frequently transformative, and always enjoyable.
For this creative all-covers set bearing an incompatible title, Ndegeocello concentrates on the era that birthed the Ready for the World and Whodini tracks -- the mid- to late '80s, primarily her late-teenage years -- with wistfulness applied only when the material calls for it.
No matter how you feel about cover albums, Ndegeocello's is worth hearing, not just because she's chosen such classic songs, but because of who she is and what she continues, album after album, to bring to the soundscape at large: something different, something of her own.
NOW Magazine

The greatest strength of the album is that you don’t think of the original artists while Ndegeocello is singing.  Some will feel she’s been reckless with beloved jams, others will fall in love with them all over again, and many will discover a new side of them even if they’ve heard the original a million times.


Tackling a range of R&B radio hits from the 1980s and 1990s, Meshell Ndegeocello treats the practice of covering another’s songs as an act of intimacy and empathy.


Sonically, Ventriloquism is risky. Ndegeocello's blend of funk, folk, bluegrass and soul forces you to forget what you know about the songs you hold dear and at times, it gets uncomfortable. But listen closely — there's a lot being said on this album in deceptively simple ways.

The Guardian
There is intention here, a subtle, transformative magic.
You feel her soul, you feel her singing, you feel like this was real. Ventriloquism exudes magic to transport you to the '80s, and get along with the happiness, caring about nothing and fade yourself on serenity. Because this neo-soul LP slays on every edge.

FAVS: I Wonder If I Take You Home, Sometimes It Snows in April, Waterfalls, Sensitivity, Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun), Private Dancer
LEAST FAV: Nite and Day
A fun collection of 80s and 90s covers from a versatile soul vocalist.

Favorite track: Waterfalls
c'est doux, c'est bon
This album had me groovin' while listening to a fucking TLC song without any sense of guilt, which I consider a significant accomplishment.
Highlight Nite and Day
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Track List

  1. I Wonder If I Take You Home
  2. Nite and Day
  3. Sometimes It Snows in April
  4. Waterfalls
  5. Atomic Dog 2017
  6. Sensitivity
  7. Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)
  8. Tender Love
  9. Don't Disturb This Groove
  10. Private Dancer
  11. Smooth Operator

Year End Lists

/New York Post
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Added on: January 16, 2018