If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)

Album: Plantation Lullabies (1993)
Charted: 74 73

Songfacts®:

  • In our Meshell Ndegeocello interview, she called this "The most misunderstood song there is." She explained: "It has such bravado, but it's more about how at that time I was seeing somebody and I didn't know they had been seeing someone else. That person confronted me in public. I wasn't as pretty as they were, and they just really gave a scathing attack on my person. So that's what came to mind: 'Well, if that's your boyfriend, he wasn't last night.' That's what that song is about."
  • The video for this song was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who made strikingly artistic videos with a cinematic quality - he previous work included Madonna's "Justify My Love" and Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer."

    The video integrates the images and voices of different women who don't appear in the recording. Throughout the clip, they make statements like "I have no one to speak to" and "I'm a very jealous person, I don't like other women." The idea was to deconstruct the ideals of beauty and what they do to women. This is something Ndegeocello struggled with as soon as she gained a modicum of fame. She found that she was suddenly being judged based on her looks, with industry types trying to calibrate her weight and forge her image.

    The video did well on MTV, earning MTV Video Music Awards nominations for Best New Artist in a Video and Best Female Video.
  • This was the most popular song on Ndegeocello's first album. It was her only Hot 100 hit as a solo artist, although in 1994 her duet with John Mellencamp on "Wild Night" went to #3.
  • Ndegeocello showed a lot of swagger in this song, which belied her true personality. She is actually very soft-spoken and introspective, which posed a problem when she was expected to aggressively promote her work. After a period of frustration, she retreated from the spotlight, choosing instead to focus on intimate shows. She continued to make albums that earned high acclaim - Peace Beyond Passion (1996), Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape (2002), and The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel (2005) were each nominated for Grammy awards - but were consumed by a smaller audience.

    "I like my personal space," she told us. "I wanted to figure out how I could make music, yet not be so much into promoting myself or trying to create some sort of image."
  • The break in this song where Ndegeocello chants, "yes, I've got your boyfriend" was done in the style of a nursery rhyme as if she was taunting her rival. "That tone and that sort of melody is for taunting, and that's how it came to mind," she told us. "I'm going to taunt you with this, no matter what bad things you say about me. Why aren't you berating him?"

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