Release Date: Jun 22, 2010
Record label: Concord
Genre(s): R&B, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Neo-Soul, Adult Contemporary R&B
Coming (back) on too strong The problem with Macy Gray’s comeback album is that, on it, she talks too much about her comeback album. On tracks like “Lately” she sings, “I am popular, they say I’m pretty, you should come back to me”; another song is titled, quite unsubtly, “The Comeback.” It’s when she’s not obsessing over being “back” that Gray really asserts herself, bouncing between her signature soul-pop groove, stadium rock-stompers and love-struck sing-a-longs. Highlights include the melodic “Let You Win,” as lush and laid-back as a lazy spring afternoon, and the beguiling “Still Hurts,” on which Motown-style “ooh oohs” echo in the background.
”Would you take me back if I told you that I haven’t changed a bit?” Macy Gray pleads on her fifth CD’s ballad ”The Comeback.” She’s singing to a lover, though she might also be ?addressing the music-buying public, which fled after 2000’s hit ”I Try.” Nothing here will dramatically alter the arc of Gray’s career, but The Sellout yields several jams worth hearing. B? Download These:Sleek disco cut Lately at amazon.comLost-love lament Still Hurts at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Macy Gray was already 32 years old when her debut album arrived in 1999. If she sounded, even then, like a whiskey-soaked Billie Holiday/Aretha Franklin, well, she was no ingénue. On How Life Is had the slink of neo-soul, the consciousness of hip-hop, and a bunch of strong songs that Gray herself co-wrote in her years singing jazz and studying screenwriting.
Condensing Macy Gray’s appeal into tag-cloud form would yield something like the following list of descriptors: “kooky,” “eccentric,” “offbeat,” and for her voice in particular, “raspy,” “whiskey-soaked,” “acquired taste. ” It’s how fans and critics have framed her since 1999’s “I Try,” which goes some way to explain why neither group turned out to help her last album, Big, live up to its name. Working with the likes of Justin Timberlake, will.
Macy Gray began working on The Sellout just after her fourth studio album, Big, and the reasons it took three years to release are evident from the credits: she wrote lyrics plus music for most of the songs. The results of that effort are apparent, and they're not good. Gray wields one of the most naturally talented voices in R&B, but from the evidence here, she's not a songwriter, and her material for The Sellout proves she needn't worry further about selling out if she keeps on composing -- commercial success will easily avoid her.
Boasts a perfect, accessible sound for the distinctive vocals of a distinctive artist. Al Fox 2010 Although the success of breakthrough single I Try has never been that heavy of an albatross around Macy Gray's neck to brand her with the dreaded one-hit wonder stamp, it's nonetheless something she's yet to match. The promise has always been there, just never fully realised to the same extent.
Let’s be up front – Macy Gray hasn’t really been on the top of our watch list since her turn of the century mega-hit “I Try” went down the pop-music memory-hole. Not that you can’t catching us humming along when it comes over the speakers in the produce section or in the waiting room, but as the Clinton era ebbed into the Bush error, we lost track of this unique vocalist and her distinctly 90s approach to soul music. Sure, she popped up on our radar here and there – like the time she fumbled the national anthem and, most recently, when she got axed right quick from the 2009 season of Dancing with the Stars – but mostly Macy Gray was outta sight, outta mind.
Here We Go Magic Luke Temple could be talking to himself in a song called “Collector” on Here We Go Magic’s second album, “Pigeons” (Secretly Canadian), when he sings, “You find the Lord in repetition.” His kind of repetition is the ceaseless, clockwork patterns of New York City art ….