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Pop - Released October 7, 2014 | Happy Mel Boopy Touring Co., Inc.

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R&B - Released July 3, 1999 | Epic

Macy Gray is such an assured, original vocalist that it's hard to believe On How Life Is is her debut album. She recalls a number of other vocalists, particularly jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, but she is unquestionably from the post-hip-hop generation, which is evident not just from the sound of the record, but the style of her songwriting, which is adventurous and unpredictable. Thankfully, she's worked with a producer (Andrew Slater, who pulled a similar trick with Fiona Apple's debut, Tidal) that lets her run wild and helps her find sounds that match her ideas. That's not to say that On How Life Is is a perfect album -- at times, Gray attempts more than she can achieve -- but it's always captivating, even during its stumbles. And when it works, it soars higher than most contemporary R&B. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Artistry Music

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Macy Gray doesn’t have to prove herself anymore. With her tenth album, Ruby, the singer and composer confirms her position as an artist but also as a femme fatale. Two years after Stripped, her ingenious talent for mixing Soul with R&B, jazz and pop is still there. With a confident look underlined by her sparkling make-up, Macy Gray strikes a pose. No filters on Ruby! We find here rather daring themes that are orientated towards realism. Like on the single Sugar Daddy that was co-written with the singer Meghan Trainor. Her slightly nasal soul veers towards funk at points and takes itself lightly despite the circumstances. Produced by Tommy Parker Lumpkins, Johan Carlsson and Tommy Brown, the soul sister with a unique voice knows how to choose her surroundings. She’s a strong woman who releases here a feminist record where narrative is important, such as on the tracks Cold War, Over You or Jealousy and its electro influences. Equipped with an impeccable swing, Macy Gray once again charms us with her quirky soul that is difficult to grow tired of. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released September 17, 2001 | Epic

Macy Gray's throaty, somewhat strangled growl was a large reason why listeners were captivated by her debut album. They also loved the way the classicist songwriting was wrapped in fresh, colorful grooves and an idiosyncratic personality, sexy in its bohemian funkiness. On How Life Is became a word-of-mouth smash as much with the traditional urban R&B audience as it was with suburban college kids and NPR listeners, which left her with the freedom to do what she wanted on her second record, The Id. Here, Macy Gray lets her freak flag fly, almost to the detriment of everything else. Layers of overdubs are piled onto the record -- endless backing vocals, bubbling drum machines, loops, glistening synths, and gurgling guitars -- giving the record the appearance of a widescreen '70s soul fantasia filtered through postmodern hip-hop. Unfortunately, it's more appearance than reality, since there's not enough structure to support what the record wants to be. It often sounds good, often like a bright, contemporary take on Riot- and Fresh-era Sly Stone, but plays better in small doses. Over the course of the album, there's just too much effort in demonstrating Gray's "freakishness," culminating in the Germanic stomp of "Oblivion," and she just doesn't seem to have that much to say outside of cheerleading for "freaks" like her. So, it's an uneven second album, but there are moments that live up to the debut, such as "Sexual Revolution," "Boo" and, best of all, the Erykah Badu duet "Sweet Baby," easily the highlight of the album. There are just not enough of them to make this an entirely successful sophomore effort. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 7, 2004 | Epic

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Pop - Released March 26, 2012 | 429 Records

Covered isn't just a collection of familiar songs given the Macy Gray treatment -- it's a frequently funny journey through what makes Macy Gray Macy Gray, with celebrity guests visiting to offer advice (like JB Smoove advising she wield a sword on-stage, or Nicole Scherzinger saying she should sing more Alanis Morissette songs). Fortunately, all of it's enlivened by Gray's ability to (mostly) deliver strong performances that don't sound like they've been labored over. With her keyboard-led live band in tow, Gray mashes Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" with Radiohead's "Creep," Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" with Nina Simone's "Buck." Her choice and range of material to cover are astonishing, always yielding songs that are perfect for her (and her audience), like "Smoke Two Joints," done earlier by Sublime as well as the Toyes. © John Bush /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released April 25, 2003 | Epic

From her debut, Macy Gray has been too eccentric to qualify as a straight pop singer, but far too inconsistent to be truly called a great artist -- except, of course, when considering her glorious whiskey-soaked voice. Her third album, The Trouble With Being Myself, is more of the same, a set of sub-standard songs with drowsy chord progressions, humdrum lyrics, and loose-limbed but musically comatose backing from her studio group (heavy on the Hammond organ). Gray still wields her hoarse yet tuneful voice like a genius, hitting every note she wants despite the cracks and never letting it sound overly contrived. Unfortunately, she also continues to be the victim of chart-focused, overly market-tested arrangements that never break out of the mold of soulful, organic R&B and pop. The single "When I See You" is pleasant but clearly a song that required no heavy lifting, and the most intriguing setup on the record -- "It Ain't the Money" featuring Pharoahe Monch and Beck -- is surprisingly desultory as well. (Monch's raps are uncharacteristically awkward, and Beck clumsily plays a stoner Timbaland with his background vocals.) After the unrepentant ego on display with her second album, The Id, the title here (as well as the cover shot, of Gray crouching in the corner of an abandoned house with a mistrustful look on her face) apparently speaks to the fact that Gray's been persecuted for being "different." But the commercial and critical indifference that greeted The Id wasn't due to a lack of acceptance, but to a set of songs that was utterly average. That same lack of distinction plagues The Trouble With Being Myself. Blessed with a voice that immediately announces itself, Gray still hasn't found a musical personality to complement it. © John Bush /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 16, 2012 | 429 Records

Covered isn't just a collection of familiar songs given the Macy Gray treatment -- it's a frequently funny journey through what makes Macy Gray Macy Gray, with celebrity guests visiting to offer advice (like JB Smoove advising she wield a sword on-stage, or Nicole Scherzinger saying she should sing more Alanis Morissette songs). Fortunately, all of it's enlivened by Gray's ability to (mostly) deliver strong performances that don't sound like they've been labored over. With her keyboard-led live band in tow, Gray mashes Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" with Radiohead's "Creep," Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" with Nina Simone's "Buck." Her choice and range of material to cover are astonishing, always yielding songs that are perfect for her (and her audience), like "Smoke Two Joints," done earlier by Sublime as well as the Toyes. © John Bush /TiVo
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Big

Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Will I Am Geffen

Though he's not the first high-profile producer in Macy Gray's career, will.i.am is the first to make a big difference -- but probably not the one listeners would expect. Gray, whose wonderfully woozy voice was always searching for the right songs and the right context, has usually sounded like a certain segment of '70s soul: the earthier deep soul of early Ann Peebles. Big, however, is the slickest album of Gray's career, with a production finesse that sounds like a different (and opposing) segment of '70s soul -- quiet storm, with its pristine sound, frequent synthesizers, fretless bass, and performances programmed to perfection. These are not the traditional makings of a solid Macy Gray record, but Big is startling and, overall, truly appealing (the first time those two adjectives could be honestly applied to Gray's music). In this slick context, the gritty character of her vocals comes into better focus. The songs, though still written Hollywood-style (with credits often going to three or four or five writers), fit in well with her personality and are among the best in her career. (There's no breakout single but there's also no dog in the bunch.) Meanwhile, a set of super-sized backing vocals gives Gray the testifying chorus she really needs; the opening "Finally Made Me Happy" features no less than Natalie Cole providing backup, and if it doesn't earn airplay on Tom Joyner's radio show, it'll be a tragic omission. As a producer, will.i.am has had trouble in the past when attempting to diversify -- which led to a horrible Sergio Mendes record, Timeless -- but he works well here. There are only a few nods to hip-hop, one good ("Ghetto Love") and the other one rather more difficult (for "Treat Me Like Your Money," will the rapper gets in a pair of stinkers: "I love you like money cuz I love you a lot" and "Baby don't ask me cuz that's the way it is and it's like that and that's the way it is"). It'll be interesting to see if past Macy Gray fans are willing to follow her into adult contemporary territory, while those who might like the new direction will be able to alter their perceptions of her. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Concord Records

Macy Gray began working on The Sellout just after her fourth studio album, Big, and the reasons it took three years to release are evident from the credits: she wrote lyrics plus music for most of the songs. The results of that effort are apparent, and they're not good. Gray wields one of the most naturally talented voices in R&B, but from the evidence here, she's not a songwriter, and her material for The Sellout proves she needn't worry further about selling out if she keeps on composing -- commercial success will easily avoid her. The first single, "Beauty in the World," has a lyric and melody by Gray alone, and despite the positive sentiments in the song, its melody is unmemorable and it includes a few embarrassing lines (e.g., "There is beauty in this world/So much beauty in this world/Always beauty in this world/So much beauty in this world/Shake your booty boys and girls/For the beauty in the world"). Still, there are a parade of collaborators on The Sellout, leading to plenty of solid moments, including the Rodney Jerkins production on "Help Me," the tender "Still Hurts" (written by Teedra Moses and Gray), and a few songs written and produced by Jared Lee Gosselin and Phillip White -- including "Real Love" with Bobby Brown, which succeeds wildly with its updated quiet storm production. Gray's vocals have only gotten better with time, and although she doesn't attempt to stretch at all, she's still one of the best-felt voices in neo-soul. As long as she avoids composing her own material without help from a few professionals, she'll ensure a long career. © John Bush /TiVo
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R&B - Released November 26, 2012 | 429 Records

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Pop - Released April 23, 2021 | Macy Gray

Pop - Released November 28, 2008 | Sony Music UK

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R&B - Released January 1, 2007 | Will I Am Geffen

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Pop - Released March 31, 2017 | Epic - Legacy

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released March 31, 2017 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Concord Records

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Soul - Released August 23, 2019 | Artistry Music

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 13, 2019 | Artistry Music

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Pop - Released July 5, 2000 | Epic