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Macy Gray: The Sellout

On her fifth album, Macy Gray reclaims some of the weirdness she declared on her second. The Id, from 2001, is one of the odder follow-ups in recent memory: Gray’s debut went multi-platinum on the back of the hit song “I Try,” a nice, conventional crush ballad whose Muppet-voiced relatability soon gave way, on The Id, to the likes of “Relating To A Psychopath” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’ Or I Will Kill You.” Gray’s next two releases backtracked from such outré stuff, but it’s back, a little, on The Sellout. There’s the self-explanatory “Stalker” (“I am your submissive ho / I’m your desperate bitch / And that’s all right with me / As long as I’m the one you kiss”), and “Kissed It,” a collaboration with the forgettable-as-ever Velvet Revolver, in which she takes her no-good man back, thanks to his remembering to go down on her. Easy as it is to root for the freaky underdog in any endeavor, Gray doesn’t sound especially engaged here. “Beauty In The World” basically repeats the title and calls it a chorus, but there’s nothing backing it up, and “That Man” is a retro goof without razzmatazz. The unexpected highlight belongs to “Real Love,” a duet with Bobby Brown; the sort-of-expected cringe-worthiest is the one called “The Comeback.” Not quite.


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