"Mulittalented singer-bassist Me'Shell NdegéOcello may confound some of her fans with her unique views on life and politics, but she never fails to disappoint. "Peace Beyond Passion" is a mixture of '70s soul-jazz revivalism and modern romance and culture that stays interesting throughout its playing time. Sexual and religious lyrical views notwithstanding, this is a must have for the modern R&B lover.The fipped on its ear cover of Bill Withers' classic "Who Is He And What is He To You" got heavy (for NdegéOcello) airplay on MTV, and is a highlight, along with the very well done tracks "The Way," "Bittersweet," and the shockingly real "Makes Me Wanna Holler." NdegéOcello wisely avoids hip-hop on "Peace" for the most part, but her unique rapping (in the traditional sense) and singing keeps it current and non-formulatic. NdegéOcello's bass playing also gives the work a signature edge. Two notes into the song, you instantly know it's her, and that's a good thing.If you loved Me'Shell NdegéOcello's other recordings, or those of contemporaries Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, India.Arie or Floetry, this is the CD for you. Even fans of non "neo-soul" acts will find much to like here. Plus it's sublime music for a romantic evening. Trust me."
The Groove | Boston, MA | 09/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It may fall a hair short of her best album, "Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape," but Me'Shell NdegéOcello's "Peace Beyond Passion" is a nerve-hitting CD that gives a big middle finger to the conventions of modern r&b and soul. Equally intelligent and head-bobbingly groovilicious, this album has MeShell serving up an arsenal of funk using real instruments and smooth, but not slick, production. She tackles homophobia as if she were grabbing a bull by its horns on "Leviticus: Faggot" (whose video BET stupidly declined to air). In "The Way," she flirts with blasphemy and challenges religion with the eyebrow-raising lyric "Maybe Judas was the better man/and Mary made a virgin just to save face." NdegéOcello also finds herself confronting suspicions of infidelity in her smoothed out cover of "Who Is He and What Is He To You." "Peace Beyond Passion" elevates MeShell as a soul sista peerless and unrivaled. It's a brilliant album of amazing depth that oughn't be ignored."
Still Her Finest Work.
WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 09/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While not as playful as "Plantation Lullabies", as sad and heavy handed as "Bitter" or as experimental as the recent "Cookie...", Me'Shell's sophomore LP is by far her best. Her sensual sing/speak gains a certain depth and confidence here that's not as defensive as her debut and points fingers at false religion, homophobia ("Leviticous: Faggot")infidelity (a fine remake of Bill Wither's "Who Is He And What Is He To You?") celebrates sex and romance ("Stay")and even veers into near blasphemy with the ode to Jesus' mother ("Mother Magdelene" a stunning acoustic number)while lashing out to the parents that emotionally scarred her ("Make Me Wanna Holler") she never misses a beat, the LP never loses it's momentum (even on the slower tracks) and hits the mark lyrically every time. "Peace...." is a sprawling, sometimes languid masterpiece employing funk, jazz (Sax genius Joshua Redmond contributes a buzzing, squealing, brilliant solo to "Deuteronomy:Niggerman")soul and hard rock for a dizzying but quite cohesive listening experience. Of all her releases, this one remains my favorite. A daring and almost too real idictment of our beliefs and ideals, "Peace..." is a modern work of art."
Somber, searching and even better than her first CD
williedynamite | 08/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With Peace beyond Passion Me'Shell NdegeOcello moves from first time sensation tom seroous songwriter producer. Where her first CD plantation lullabies was rather melachololy peace beyond passion is a serious, searching effort that surpasses her first. Where this album differ from the first is in the songwriting. On plantation she wrote light songs like Dreadloc and If that was your boyfriend.. but on peace she seems to be intereted in something more soul searching. Many of the albums songs deal with serious almost somber topics racism Deuteronomy: , homophobia Leviticus, promoscuity Mary magdalene, even her own past Make me wanna holler. What makes peace stand out is the fact that Me'Shell' delivery adds a new perspective on these topics. Her songwriting is very honest and sincere. Another thing that makes this album what it is is the music. Ms. NdegeOcello continues to crank out funky rhythms and grooves. Even on her cover of Bill Withers tune; who is he and what is he to you it sounds fresh. Innovative, chalenging yet still enjoable. A great album"
Meshell is second to none in the music world.
guillermoj | Washington, DC United States | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this release was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, Meshell has never received the popular acclaim enjoyed by less talented peers. The critics have always liked her, but professional critics sometimes can kill certain artists with praise.On her second album, Meshell NdegeOcello continues to use a seamless blend of funk, jazz, rap and soul as a foundation for her sociosexual observations while raising the bar by tackling racism. homophobia and other societal maladies. Before my description makes this sound like going to Sunday school, anyone who is familair with Meshell knows that her spiritual bent and musical prowess makes her one of the most affecting acts in music. You feel her despair and hope as if you were the one singing. She's amazing and I am reviewing this release because I am on my Meshell re-discovery as I've been listening to all her CDs since the release of her latest and the only thing that these disks have in common is that they all deserve 5 stars. What a talent!!!The centerpieces of the album are three songs named for books of the Bible: "Deuteronomy: Niggerman", "Ecclesiastes: Free My Heart", and "Leviticus: Faggot". Don't let the wordy titles and foundations for this release prevent you from listening to one of the greatest period.The music is less hip-hop-oriented than that on her debut and it suits her well as it's fleshed-out with heavier jazz nuances and '70s funk shadings. The dance between the sax, guitar and Meshell's base blurs many musical lines yet sounds like a natural. Try listening to her cover of Bill Withers' "Who Is He And And What Is He To You" and if you are not tapping your feet you ought to see a doctor ;-). This is one chunky cover that fits seemlessly into this amazing release.For those who are just discovering Meshell from her latest release, give this a try. If you have not had the privilege, then this would be the release that I would recommend as a point of departure.Release such as this remind me of the power of music and why I keep at it, even when I wind up buying junk, as there is always light at the end of the tunnel and Meshell is always one that you can rely on when one thinks that the music industry has gone to the dogs. Not so!"