Release Date: 02.10.04
Record label: Sony
Cute and Talented? Tell Me More!
by: nick evans
Nellie McKay isn't an artist you would come across every day. Take the piano skills of Tori Amos, the complex/feminist lyrics of Ani Difranco, and the style of any 60s female pop star, and you’ll still get someone not anywhere close to as unique as her. A former Manhattan School of Music student and member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) this nineteen-year-old wonder combines countless genre’s on her debut, Get Away From Me. (a play-off of Norah Jones’ mega-smash Come Away with Me and Jane Monheit's Come Dream With Me).
Spanning two discs, this eighteen track collection tackles a wide variety of political and social issues sarcastically, ironically, and often hilariously. (e.g. “Salute the Flag or I’ll call you a fag”, “I like my coffee black/hey look we’re bombing Iraq”) Not only are the lyrics more thought provoking than anything you're likely to hear all year, but her piano skills are impeccable. Tori Amos has nothing on her.
The main focus of the music is jazz, but she strays away from it often and dives head first into country, show tunes, pop, rock, and reggae. While her rapping (yes, you read right) on some of the tracks is a bit too much, the social commentary given by them more than makes up for it. “David” explores a reggae vibe, while “Clonie” gives an ode to the 60’s female pop icons that her image heavily relies on. (Doris Day even comes to mind)
There’s so much that can be said about this blast of freshness and originality. It’s an album that comes around only once every couple of years; something that goes into completely uncharted waters. She sings with such ambition, and is one of the few artists of whom you can tell doesn’t care a thing of what you may think of her. She’s a young teen prodigy with an unprecedented grip on reality, and the numerous accounts of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor only add to her greatness. She is definitely the first artist 2004 has seen that will eventually become a legend. 23-Mar-2004 9:15 AM