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Macy Gray Covers Radiohead, Kanye West, Colbie Caillat, Metallica and More on New Album

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Macy Gray Covers Radiohead, Kanye West, Colbie Caillat, Metallica and More on New Album

Macy Gray Covered

Macy Gray is back ya'll! Covered is Gray's sixth studio album and her first with 429 Records, a subsidiary of Savoy Label Group/Nippon Columbia.  Joining Macy on the 429 roster are notable artists including The Bodeans, Everclear, Edwin McCain, John Popper (Blues Traveler), The Proclaimers, and Tonic.  That's an awful lot of bands/artists that were popular in the 90s and early 2000s, no?  No matter - I'm just happy that Macy Gray found herself a new label, having left Concord Records following the release of her 2010 flop The Sellout.

Now, a lot of artists have released covers albums in the past.  Some might be quick to call a covers album unoriginal, but that's far from the truth.  A covers album, when done well, is the perfect opportunity for an established artist to put his or her spin onto some other well known material.  Mandy Moore's 2003 album Coverage comes to mind.  This was Moore's first album dabbling in singer/songwriter type music, covering a variety of tunes from the 70s and 80s, including Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move," Elton John's "Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters," "Anticipation" by Carly Simon, Joan Armatrading's (another of Macy Gray's 429 Records labelmates) "Drop The Pilot" and first single "Have A Little Faith In Me" by John Hiatt.  While a commercial failure, Coverage was critically acclaimed, with most lauding Moore for her new mature direction.  While Mandy Moore stuck mostly to songs people know, Macy Gray chose to put her spin on a more obscure collection of tunes.

Macy Gray Sail

Macy Gray released Covered on March 26th in the States, preceded with the release of first single "Sail," a song originally performed by American indie rock band AWOLNATION. Unconventional indeed, but actually really feel where she takes this song.  Unfamiliar with the source material, I obviously had to check out the original to hear where Macy changes things up.  Of course, with a voice as unique as Gray's, the changes are instantly noticeable.  Melodically Macy keeps pretty close to the original, however changes up the arrangement slightly as well as the production. 

While Gray does go after recognizable songs, (Radiohead's "Creep", "Kanye West's "Love Lockdown," Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly" featuring The Wire/Luther actor Idris Elba and "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics), there's a lot I don't know on here.  Perhaps that's just because my musical taste isn't as diverse as Gray's, but no matter.  I think it's a great feat if an artist's cover inspires a listener to go and download the original version.  It's like a little $0.99 bonus.  Now, the one problem I have with the album is Gray's use of SKITS. I DESPISE skits on an album. A skit is nothing but filler for me.  While it's nice to see Macy Gray has a sense of humor about her career, not to mention famous friends (as evidenced by a skit with Nicole Scherzinger called "I Try Is Cool and All But") I'm really only interested in the music.

Check out the tracklisting for Covered below and download it on U.S. iTunes HERE.  Also check out a video of Gray's Sublime cover (as in the band Sublime) "Smoke 2 Joints," which I think was released as promo prior to the album's release.  I also recommend checking out the Dirty Plastic Hits Remix of "Sail" which appears as a bonus track on iTunes. You can download that HERE.

Track listing

1. Here Comes the Rain Again - 3:44 (Eurythmics song)
2. Creep - 4:18 (Radiohead song)
3. You Want Them Nervous (Skit) [feat. J.B. Smoove] - 1:12
4. Smoke 2 Joints - 2:48 (The Toyes/ Sublime song)
5. La La La (Teaching the Kids) [feat. Layann Al Saud, Avery Albert, Happy Hinds, & Sienna Steiber] - 0:25
6. Teenagers - 2:56 (My Chemical Romance song)
7. The Power of Love (feat. Hugh Salk) - 0:41
8. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica song) -5:42
9. Sail - 4:27 (Awolnation song)
10. I Try Is Cool and All, But (Skit) [feat. Nicole Scherzinger] - 1:29
11. Maps - 2:51 (Yeah Yeah Yeahs song)
12. Love Lockdown/Buck - 3:59 (Kanye West/ Nina Simone song)
13. Mel Rap (feat. Mel Hinds) - 0:33
14. Bubbly (feat. Idris Elba) - 3:11 (Colbie Caillat song)
15. Wake Up (Arcade Fire song) - 3:52
16. Really (Skit) [feat. MC Lyte] - 2:21
16. Here Comes The Rain Again (Dirty Plastic Hits Remix) (iTunes Bonus Track)- 3:44
17. Sail (Dirty Plastic Hits Remix) (iTunes Bonus Track) - 4:46

Check out Macy Gray on the web:

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