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The Clay County Advocate - Press-Flora, IL
  • The Farr Side: Macy Gray has it covered

  • Macy Gray is an artist who I would have least expected to do a “covers” album and pull it off. Her sound is so uniquely “her” that it would be difficult to associate her with someone else’s song.

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  • Macy Gray is an artist who I would have least expected to do a “covers” album and pull it off. Her sound is so uniquely “her” that it would be difficult to associate her with someone else’s song.
    That’s something I used to think before I heard her take on Radiohead’s “Creep” from her latest album, “Covered.” It strangely works and I can’t stop listening to it. It’s like I’m hearing the song for the first time, and I played the heck out of Radiohead’s “Pablo Honey.”
    I’ve liked Gray since her debut single, “I Try,” but I was beginning to think she was all “tried out” when she went on “Dancing With The Stars.” I was wrong. Since then, she’s been at work on this record and touring all over Europe performing before packed audiences who love her rich, raspy voice. That’s a smart move, considering she could try out the music on a fresh crowd each night.
    Gray’s brand of song selection makes “Covered” a success and not just another cheesy album of other people’s hits. “Creep” was a bold undertaking not too many other artists would have even attempted, but she didn’t stop there. She tackled other industry heavyweights, including Eurythmics and Metallica. That’s right — Macy Gray covers Metallica!
    Arcade Fire and My Chemical Romance also got songs Gray-ed up. Kanye West, Colbie Caillet and The Toyes were covered, too.
    “Here Comes The Rain Again” (Euythmics) was the perfect song for Gray to make her own. It already has a haunting melody and hook that singer Annie Lennox made legendary, but Macy takes it a step further. It’s light, melodramatic build-up is almost hypnotic, it’s so cool. I’d love to know what Lennox and Dave Stewart thinks of the track now.
    Gray took “Nothing Else Matters,” known as a more cool and subdued song for Metallica, and made it Macy without compromising the song’s identity. For that, she deserves praise. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but she did it well.
    “Wake Up” (Arcade Fire) was OK, but “Teenagers” (My Chemical Romance) worked better for me than the original, because it seemed more relatable coming from her.
    Nobody can do wrong really with Kanye’s “Love Lockdown,” including Gray. She combines the track with Nina Simone’s “Buck” to give the song a fresh vibe for 2012. I only wish Kanye could have been a part of it.
    “Bubbly” (Colbie Caillet) ran out of bubbles a little too quickly for me. It seems a bit out of place when I’ve managed to channel in Radiohead and Metallica through Gray. It’s too campy, even for a covers album.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Covered” is full of unexpected highlights, including “Creep,” “Here Comes The Rain Again,” and “Nothing Else Matters” — my favorite tracks. It’s interpretations like these that make her a true artist, even when covering someone else’s songs.   
    David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at farrboy@hotmail.com. You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.
     
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