NoMBe - They Might've Even Loved Me
They Might've Even Loved Me
NoMBe lays out the crux of this album on it's first track "Man Up". The song is about men taking notice of their role in society and how it impacts the oppressed then actually making a change. It's an incredibly straight forward idea and this idea of active male feminism is one that is a throughline for NoMBe's whole career thus far. He was born to a German father and African-American mother who split shortly after He was born. He was then raised by his grandmother and godmother, oh and his godmother just happens to be CHAKA MOTHER FUCKING KHAN. In interviews NoMBe has nodded to the legendary singer and performer saying she helped him cultivate his on stage persona and soulful sound. NoMBe tours with an all female band and has an all female creative team, this juxtaposed with his shirtless denim clad rock star look creates this really interesting push and pull between male and female. The thing you'll notice right from the top is this is no R&B record, there are songs with plenty of guitar heavy licks furthering this Jimi Hendrix idea that NoMBe is often seen trying to cultivate. "Can't Catch Me" cooks with guitars and sloppy drums far more about NoMBe's vocal performance than the actual music going on. It sounds to on the nose of 60s Rock and Roll, and the vocal effect of making it sound vinyl and dirty on hurts the track. You tend to find this all over the album, where it feels like NoMBe is really trying to harness what was good about the past. The problem is He doesn't really set these tracks in 2018; sure the ideas are very fresh and modern but the music ticks every single box without creating its own.
This album is also so massive at 18 tracks it dilutes whatever message NoMBe is trying to get across. There is so much music and so much differenet musci that you have trouble finding NoMBe in all of it. Dig Data helped produce "Drama" and you can feel it because the electronics are much more in the forefront. This is the one time that NoMBe really switches it up and it's a welcome change, but the rest of the album especially the later tracks just feel like more of the same. It starts to sound like noise eventually and any tracks that would otherwise standout like "Jump Right In" get a bit lost. There are many times on this album where NoMBe shows so much promise and talent, but He just barely misses the mark. You want this album to be pushed further; instead of 60s rock pop you want psychedelia, some explosion of sound that simply overtakes you. The spoken word tracks like "A Million Miles from Crescent Skies" serve as a really nice break from the sameness, and the gentle rain falling in the background on this track in particular is simply fantastic. It's followed by "Sex" which is so close to something amazing but falls utterly flat in the chorus. His found feels like it should be Miguel level sexy but it just never gets there. There is a ton of promise on this record and you sense that there may be big things on the horizon for NoMBe, but this album just isn't quite there yet.
6.0 out of 10