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The ID

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Album Review

Macy Gray's throaty, somewhat strangled growl was a large reason why listeners were captivated by her debut album. They also loved the way the classicist songwriting was wrapped in fresh, colorful grooves and an idiosyncratic personality, sexy in its bohemian funkiness. On How Life Is became a word-of-mouth smash as much with the traditional urban R&B audience as it was with suburban college kids and NPR listeners, which left her with the freedom to do what she wanted on her second record, The Id. Here, Macy Gray lets her freak flag fly, almost to the detriment of everything else. Layers of overdubs are piled onto the record — endless backing vocals, bubbling drum machines, loops, glistening synths, and gurgling guitars — giving the record the appearance of a widescreen '70s soul fantasia filtered through postmodern hip-hop. Unfortunately, it's more appearance than reality, since there's not enough structure to support what the record wants to be. It often sounds good, often like a bright, contemporary take on Riot- and Fresh-era Sly Stone, but plays better in small doses. Over the course of the album, there's just too much effort in demonstrating Gray's "freakishness," culminating in the Germanic stomp of "Oblivion," and she just doesn't seem to have that much to say outside of cheerleading for "freaks" like her. So, it's an uneven second album, but there are moments that live up to the debut, such as "Sexual Revolution," "Boo" and, best of all, the Erykah Badu duet "Sweet Baby," easily the highlight of the album. There are just not enough of them to make this an entirely successful sophomore effort.

Customer Reviews

Liekd it

Sexual Revolution was hot! And the Blowin Up Your speakers was good testing for my headphones! Good album ! Go MaCY!

If you like Corinne Bailey Rae-- Then Listen to the Original

We love the British, they are excellent at reflecting us. Macy Gray is the NeoSoul Queen An incrediblel voice... and knows how to use it Writes her own Real Lyrics....Stories and Situation all over the map Knows how to make a listener/audience move....An experience Summary: If "Highs" could be heard....This is what they would sound like.... in a word.... Macy Gray

Best ever...

I have listened to this album over and over again and it STILL never gets old. I will be listening to this album on my death bed. Love it soo much. Go macy gray! Hope she makes another one like this...

Biography

Born: September 6, 1967 in Canton, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Macy Gray parlayed an utterly unique voice and an outlandish sense of style into R&B stardom at the turn of the millennium, appealing to audiences of all colors in search of a fresh alternative to mainstream soul. Gray was actually born Natalie McIntyre in Canton, Ohio, and grew up a shy, awkward youngster who was frequently teased about her odd-sounding voice. She studied classical piano for seven years, but also soaked up the music of soul legends like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin,...
Full Bio
The ID, Macy Gray
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