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And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32

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September 06, 2007


Macy Gray Turns 40
Macy Gray imageNatalie Renee McIntyre was born on September 6, 1967 in Canton, Ohio, which makes Macy Gray 40 years old. With four classic albums, Macy Gray has established herself as the singingest bitch walking the Earth today (a title she might share with one or two others). She rasps a bit of "I Try" or "Sweet Baby," and I'd defy you to disagree.

But it's not just her unique sort of female Ray Charles voice that distinguishes her. She has consistently achieved a high level of beautiful and distinctive arrangements and production sounds. Macy and her people have engineered the most dangerously seductive junkie bliss-out ever ("Happiness" probably should be illegal), but also the sweetest r&b sentimentality ("Sweet Baby").

She also gets a nasty freak on that'd make George Clinton give up the funk. I mean, "Caligula" and "Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak" are just nasty - and all the hotter because of the animating loving devotion she's expressing.

But besides her unique voice and beautiful orchestrations, really way the most important thing is her songwriting. Her songs usually come credited as being group compositions, with various band members and producers. However exactly she engineers them, they certainly don't come out sounding like products of a committee.

Then again, some of the orchestrations are even more important than the songs. The arrangement of "It Ain't the Money" for example is as much an indispensable part of the music as the perfectly good basic vocal melody. But all these compositions and arrangments come out pure expressions of Macy-ism, which is some freaky stuff right there.

Her most uniquely memorable and most entirely idiosyncratic expressions come in her own special genre of funky psycho songs. Macy has sometimes been discounted as derivative "neo-soul." I've never quite been able to figure out just who it is that she's supposedly copying after. However, I'm pretty sure she didn't come up with the loping seaside funk of "Strange Behavior" from listening to Aretha Franklin or Smokey Robinson. "My Fondest Childhood Memories" expresses a cheerfully barbaric, fierce devotion as a kind of children's song, a highly memorable song that could only have come from Natalie Hinds.

Among her psycho songs though, "Gimme All Your Lovin' or I Will Kill You" may be the closest to the bone of her being and the most undeniable. She strides lightly along a sneaky stalker groove before winning the affections of her beloved at the point of an AK-47. Then she adds in nuanced emotional layers of humor into it, a comic desperation that drives the narrative.

In this her 40th year, Macy Gray unleashed the album Big, with explanation that this title reflected that her mind, her music and her butt are large. Largest of all, this album features "Ghetto Love." This may be the finest one song of her career, and is certainly a likely candidate for best song of 2007. It is the most ghetto fabulous romance ever put on a record. It's BIG.

Finally, I recommend that any half serious Macy fan should locate "Try Breezin'". It's an underground mashup of her main hit "I Try" with the 1976 George Benson instrumental hit "Breezin'". I generally don't much care about mashups and re-mixes and such what, but this one is exceptional. The passion of Macy's vocal melody really heats and animates the cool laid backness of Benson.
Macy Gray and her beautiful nappy hair
Anyhow, I've got all kinds of groovy Macy Gray stuff at MoreThings, starting with Macy Gray's Beautiful Nappy Headed Photo Gallery. Indeed, I've got 30 more pages of Macy pictures:
Macy Gray Images 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Here are some articles of devotion:

Big Macy's classic 2007 album

"When I See You"

"My Fondest Childhood Memories"

the trouble with being myself - album review

Macy Gray gets it up like Jebus on Easter morning Oh yes, she certainly does

posted by Al at 9/06/2007 01:41:00 AM

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