Macy Gray has undisputedly the most gravelly soul voice in the industry. The quirky singer puts it to good use on her 8th studio album, The Way. Shooting to fame back in the 90s with her debut, On How Life Is, that produced smash hit ‘I Try’, Gray has slowly disappeared since then, signing on with more low key indie record labels. Hopefully this album will herald a come back.
Opening the album with the slow sultry ‘Stoned’, she croons that every thing is going her way. As she croons slowly, it is easy to imagine that she is in that state of bliss that she writes about. The album continues with themes of sexual awareness, lust and neediness. It’s a theme that Gray has used before, and for her it works. She is the heart broken chanteuse and it is a role that suits her well.
’Bang Bang’ oozes sexiness that Gray emits slowly, shifting onto neediness with ‘Queen of the Big Hurt’ with gentle ease. She shifts from one theme to the next with gracefulness, her smoky voice doing each song justice; simple with production allows her voice to be heard and does not detract from the lyrics and the vibe. Acoustic ‘First Time’ is a sweet song touching on the frailties of first love. Simply produced, it sounds clean and crisp, the sweetness of the straightforward lyrics makes it an album highlight.
Being Macy Gray she always has to throw in a quirky track much to the delight of listeners. It is what appeals to listeners and is prevalent on the self explanatory ‘I Miss The Sex’. It wouldn’t be a Macy Gray album if there wasn’t at least one quirky song thrown in. It’s a fun sassy track that emits longing and lust that Gray is so good at conveying. She really does have a voice that was designed to purr out the words rather than sing .
Whilst the album is a brief ten songs and is a more organic sounding release, Macy Gray has returned to her roots (after the bizarre 2012 release Covered) and is doing what she does best: Soul Music.
Whilst Macy Gray almost reached large commercial success with her debut album, over the years she has quietly produced more music but has never reached that same level of popularity that she once had. This album is a return to a Macy that listeners know and love. She tours the album later this year and perhaps it will see her relaunch her career to where it should be. She defiantly has one of the best soul voices in the industry.
Reviewer: Amanda Starkey