Feisty, funky and as scarily full-on, it looks like Macy is back in a big way.
Morag Reavley 2007
Don’t mess with Macy Gray. Four years away from the recording scene have not mellowed her one iota, and on her comeback album she’s got some scores to settle.
Her gripes, as ever, are with a multitude of feckless men. Take opening track ‘'Finally Made Me Happy'’, in which Gray thanks her hopeless ex-husband for walking out as the only good thing he ever did.
There’s a cutting sense of humour at work. ‘'Strange Behavior'’ sets the bleak story of a wife who kills her husband before he kills her first against a dreamy Motown beat. And ‘'Treat Me Like Your Money'’ satirises the guys who treat their girlfriends like possessions (‘I love you like money cuz I love you a lot’).
The voice is still extraordinary, modulating between a ferocious feline rasp and an alien newly arrived on Planet Earth. It’s at its most cartoonishly extreme on ‘'Ghetto Love'’, one of the best tracks on the album, about a gangsta’s girl you definitely shouldn’t mess with.
The production values are grandiose, creating a voluminous, layered sound with no respect for genre. Big mashes up 1970s soul, with funk and rap, throwing in 1950s swirls and samples of Dead Or Alive and Run DMC for good measure. And Gray is ably abetted by some A-list collaborators: Natalie Cole, rapper Nas, Fergie and will.i.am, who also produces.
It may not always come off (the more conventional tracks are the least successful), but a sense of liberation shines throughout. Feisty, funky and as scarily full-on, it looks like Macy is back in a big way.