DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Macy Gray: On How Life Is : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone

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Macy Gray

On How Life Is  Hear it Now

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 5of 5 Stars

1999

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Too often forced to conform to angel-whore formula, African-American sisters rarely have the chance to get individually freaky on the mike. But if Erykah and Missy can break the rules of radio R&B, then Macy Gray -- the latest protoge of Wallflowers and Fiona Apple producer Andrew Slater -- might be able to do the same for VH1 rock. With an attention-getting croon somewhere between Billie Holiday's wounded cry and Bob Dylan's feisty rasp, this L.A. scenester is the centerpiece of an album that sounds like a John Dahl film looks -- shadowy, classic and shimmering with contemporary nostalgia. When the melodies get singsongy and forgettable on "Still" and elsewhere, Gray comes across as stilted, and the retro arrangements, featuring multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion and other red-hot outsiders, seem overly styled. But on substantial songs like "I've Committed Murder," in which she confesses to killing her boyfriend's boss over the theme from Love Story, Gray glides through the aural cinema like a destined star. Rock needs more of these. (RS 819)


BARRY WALTERS




(Posted: Aug 19, 1999)

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