On Macy Gray’s new studio album of all original material,she starts off with the rhythmic acoustic soul of “Stoned” and goes from there to the bluesy,shuffling rock of “Bang Bang”. “Hands” on the other hand has a buoyant disco/pop sound to it with a guitar riff that…might make it almost countryish except the bass line is pretty sturdily funky if one is listening for it. “Miss The Sex” has a potent mix of shuffling Afro jazz/funk about it with some slippery bass and dripping horns. “First Time”,the title song and the melodically dynamic “Queen Of The Big Hurt” all recall a dynamically arranged folk/soul sound in the Bill Withers school. “Me With You” is just flat out,spare and slippery funk with “Need You Now” has a mixture of that folk/soul with a Motown rhythm and melody similar to the Isley’s “This Old Heart Of Mine” while “Life”,the final song on the album is a rollicking soul rave up.
Personally? I was not moved by Macy’s last album which consisted of covers of other peoples music. This album actually has a similar approach to her early albums. Though the trajectory is very different. The sound of the album is instrumentally stripped down and more acoustically textured-showcasing something of a new direction for her musically. Lyrically and vocally the change is important too. This album,with a simple cover showcasing a sad looking Macy shedding a single tear,reflects the lyrical content that showcases a great deal of personal regret. That allows her to showcase her own modern feminine version of the classic soul music blend of the secular and spiritual. Macy is lyrically calling out to someone,and it’s never specified if it’s a romantic partner or a god figure. All of this serves to make an emotive,always soulful and often quite funky album!
Originally Posted On October 8th,2014