Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:


Give Me'Shell Ndegéocello credit for following her druthers. The third album of her six-year career could conceivably become a cult item, even a major hit. But Bitter so thoroughly ignores the art-funk that made her famous that I can't imagine she worried about its commercial prospects. Although the music is slow, confessional, with Lisa Coleman's piano overwhelming Ndegéocello's bass, it's nowhere near as static and stolid as the Roberta Flack and Tracy Chapman it evokes. Unprepossessing at first, the melodies steadily gain resonance as the arrangements flower out into a jazzlike responsiveness. And the worst you can say about the lyrics is that in this context "To wish for wine in her empty kiss" packs some wallop. Every one of these songs is about love, usually love thwarted by psychological disability. But the observation is stark and the music felt enough to render them vivid sketches rather than a new bunch of tales from the woe-is-me factory.

Rolling Stone, Aug. 5, 1999