Release Date: Oct 31, 2006
Record label: Black Dove
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Singer-Songwriter
Pretty Little Head, the Nellie McKay record that Columbia refused to release in early 2006, is remarkably similar to Get Away from Me, the record it released to wide acclaim in 2003. Like McKay's debut, it's a two-disc album packed with brash wordplay, passionate causes, and a diverting variety of New York music locales, from the Brill Building to Cafe Carlyle to the South Bronx. If it sacrifices some of the humor and precocious flair of her debut in favor of more social criticism, it's still a very entertaining and occasionally beautiful album that allows space for McKay's continuum of emotions, from gleeful to melancholy to furious.
New York's Nellie McKay, the precocious pianist with a penchant for wry humor, wants to be adult contemporary music's Lucille Ball. She casts herself in the role of female clown with her musical timbre and syntax, in addition to her conversational tone and bald-faced lyrics. As we all know, however, it's a short distance from smartass to dumbass, and it's never a good harbinger for an album when the opening track ("Cupcake") sounds like bad, way-way-off Broadway musical theatre.