By: Melody Charles
Possessing a rich, throaty alto, an enviable pen game and responsible for some of this decade’s most compelling neo-soul, N’Dambi steps out of the independent realm and into her first major-label solo release with Stax Records’ Pink Elephant.
While her fourth CD trades away some of her trademark organic approach for a more mainstream feel (thanks to acknowledged super-producer Leon Sylers III behind the boards), the Oak Cliff, TX. native retains her lived-in, to-the-bone style of soul, evident in the salty, neck-rocking kiss-off “Can’t Hardly Wait,” the buoyant ode to optimism, “Nobody Jones,” and the simmering slow burn of “Ooh Baby,” where she posits herself as a woman who fatefully encounters a long-ago love and wonders if they can take another shot at what she foolishly left behind.
Also enjoyable is the pop music commentary, “The World Is A Beat” the intriguing exploration of a man’s dirty double-life “L.I.E.’ and the aural equivalent of a warm shoulder“What It Takes” which reassures a weary man that he may not be perfect, but he’s the one for her and they’ll triumph whatever life throws in their path.
Although it’s not as freewheeling and adventurous as her previous CD’s, N’Dambi’s Pink Elephant is still, like the title suggests, too large and colorful an endeavor to ignore if you enjoy authentic, grown folks’ R&B.