Macy Gray – The Sellout

January 01, 1970



For some reason Macy Gray is an extremely
polarizing force in popular music; you either love her or dismiss her. Those
who dig her find that baffling and frustrating feeling that, among other
things, Macy does a wonderful job of amalgamating old fashioned soul music and
rock and roll. Her music has the rhythmic funky passion and abandon that’s
missing from much of modern  r & b, or
what passes for it ,although r & b certainly is not the only music that of
late has embraced style over substance and traded dynamics for histrionics.
From the time she first burst on the scene with the exquisite “I Tried” Gray
has been determined to remind us that in its most pure true form (or one of
them at least) rock and roll music is an outgrowth of rhythm and blues albeit
one with equal ties to modern (i.e. post World War II) country music.


Few songs exemplify this better than “Kissed It”
which she does backed by Velvet Revolver, the band which has in Slash someone
else who seems determined to not forget rock and roll’s r & b roots; at least
since he left the dead zone surrounding Axl Rose. “Kissed It” thumps along like
an outtake from T-Rex’s Electric Warrior with Macy’s wrong side of the tracks girl group vocal propelling it.  “Beauty In The World” is John Lennon’s “Give
Peace A Chance” as performed by Sly and the Family Stone with Macy articulating
her post-hippie vision of peace and love and exhorting “shake your booty boys
and girls for the beauty in the world.”


Gray’s music is joy-filled but never saccharine. She’s
not looking at the world with blinders on; she’s quite aware (“Help Me”) of how
things are. She simply has a rock rooted vision of the way things could and
should be. She’s a true soul sister with a flower in her hair dancing down the
natural path laid out by Sly, Lennon, Arthur Alexander, Van Morrison, Sam
Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire and pre-disco Rod Stewart. If she
rankles the uptight it’s because, as Lennon said in “Working Class Hero”: “They
hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool” – but damned if that’ll stop


Standout Tracks: “Kissed It”; “Help Me” RICK


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