Album review: Meshell Ndegeocello

Rock — Meshell Ndegeocello is fearless. Who else would perform entire concerts dedicated to retooling the songs of maverick artists such as Prince and Gil Scott-Heron, only to follow it up with an album exploring and exorcising the discography of the ultimate maverick artist, Nina Simone? On her 10th studio album, Ndegeocello makes it feel effortless. She works from the ground up – taking the source material and rebuilding it with her own lusty vocals and electric bass lines. Like-minded singers such as Sinead O’Connor and Cody Chesnutt join in on several tracks, but it’s Ndegeocello’s contemplative, personal reinterpretations of tunes like “Feeling Good,” “See Line Woman” and Leonard Cohen‘s “Suzanne” that make this tribute worthy of its inspiration.

Stanford beats UCLA 35-17

Pasadena — Having beaten UCLA on Saturday night, Stanford has to get ready to play (trumpets, please) UCLA. With the Rose Bowl at stake, the Pac-12 championship game at Stanford Stadium at 5 p.m. Friday could be called the Deja Vu Bowl. The No. 11 Cardinal would be delighted if it goes something like their 35-17 slapping of the No. 15 Bruins in the regular-season finale. It was wrapped up with two touchdowns in a pulsating 13-second span in the third quarter. Coach David Shaw isn’t expecting another one-sided victory in the rematch even though it’s on the Cardinal’s home field. “It’s going to be 10 times harder than this game was,” he said. “We’re going to get their best shot.” Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) needed to win to wrap up the North Division title because Oregon (11-1, 8-1) had crushed Oregon State 48-24 earlier in the day. Had the Ducks lost, the Cardinal could have backed into the championship game, although they needed to win to get the home-field advantage Friday. In fact, they made it a point of not knowing how the Civil War game turned out. Call it blissful ignorance; they just didn’t want to lose their edge. And they sure maintained it. Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense had seven sacks and, for the most part, kept stellar quarterback Brett Hundley at bay. The Stanford players don’t think complacency will be an obstacle this week. “We have a mature enough team to understand the situation, that it’s a quick turnaround,” Taylor said. “We need to get our bodies right, get back on the film and be ready for next week.” Taylor’s 49-yard run for a touchdown and his 40-yard gallop to set up another will give UCLA something to study.

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