Despite the big name producer and big time contributors, Macy Gray has somehow achieved the not insignificant feat of delivering an altogether average record.
She’s a daydream diva, is Macy. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about Ms. Gray which fails to convince me. It wasn’t always so. In 1999 the helium-voiced crooner crashed into the public consciousness with ‘I Try’, a song which brimmed with feeling and sensitivity. However, subsequent releases have seemed emotionally empty. The suspicion that she was treading water was confirmed by the premature release of a ‘Very Best Of’ only three studio albums into her career.
In an attempt to arrest the decline, she’s hooked up with producer du jour, will.i.am, and roped in heavy-hitting contributors like Black Eyed Pea Fergie, and Nicole Porter. To no avail: despite the big name producer and big time contributors, Gray has somehow achieved the not insignificant feat of delivering an altogether average record.
A hodgepodge collection of soul, R ‘n’ B and funk, the album opens with the bittersweet j’accuse of ‘Finally Made Me Happy’. It’s simple, direct and affecting. It’s also misleading, for, in the main, this record is rather too polished. The Fergie duet ‘Glad You’re Here’ is particularly underwhelming. The failure to excite is not entirely the fault of knob-twiddler, will.i.am: the tunes just aren’t memorable enough. With honourable exceptions, the sweet caress of ‘Okay’ and delightfully boom-bastic ‘Ghetto World’, this sounds like music estate agents get their leg over to. Gray by name and, on Big, grey by nature.
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