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|0.0 || | November 14th 12|
Macy Gray began working on The Sellout just after her fourth studio album, Big, and the reasons it took three years to release are evident from the credits: she wrote lyrics plus music for most of the songs. The results of that effort are apparent, and they're not good. Gray wields one of the most naturally talented voices in R&B, but from the evidence here, she's not a songwriter, and her material for The Sellout proves she needn't worry further about selling out if she keeps on composing -- commercial success will easily avoid her. The first single, "Beauty in the World," has a lyric and melody by Gray alone, and despite the positive sentiments in the song, its melody is unmemorable and it includes a few embarrassing lines (e.g., "There is beauty in this world/So much beauty in this world/Always beauty in this world/So much beauty in this world/Shake your booty boys and girls/For the beauty in the world"). Still, there are a parade of collaborators on The Sellout, leading to plenty of solid moments, including the Rodney Jerkins production on "Help Me," the tender "Still Hurts" (written by Teedra Moses and Gray), and a few songs written and produced by Jared Lee Gosselin and Phillip White -- including "Real Love" with Bobby Brown, which succeeds wildly with its updated quiet storm production. Gray's vocals have only gotten better with time, and although she doesn't attempt to stretch at all, she's still one of the best-felt voices in neo-soul. As long as she avoids composing her own material without help from a few professionals, she'll ensure a long career.
1 Bumps | Bump
|4.0 excellent||Anothertwo | March 19th 17|
"The Sellout" is one of her best albums. It's more poppy than its predecessors, but that doesn't
spell out disaster in her case. "The Sellout" is surprisingly deep, discussing her hunger for fame
and her desire to stay true to herself, while songs like "Lately" provide an opportunity to dance.
The Velvet Revolver team-up "Kissed It" brings to mind Black Keys, and though its lyrics aren't
phenomenal, it's still refreshing on an album of confessionals, apologies, and love songs. Even
the balladry here is impressive - "Let You Win" could be sung by Adele, but it really pops with
Gray's vocals. There's only one big misstep on the album: "Beauty in the World," a "the world is
wonderful" song whose lyrics ("shake your booty, boys and girls, so much beauty in the world")
leave much to be desired.
The album is a testament to her range and talent; she wrote almost everything on it, and gives it
a unique spin with her raspy voice, which sounds jagged but authentic, especially in a time when
auto-tune is making 99% of the pop sound as if it came from a sterile factory in Hollywood. Though
her vocals and eclecticism may be a turn-off for some, this record shows that Macy Gray is back,
and with good reason.
|0.0 ||SabertoothMonocle | July 18th 12|
..sounds like she ate a frog. I don't understand why she's famous.
|2.5 average||jpratm | August 28th 12|
|2.5 average||BSX | February 5th 11|
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