Macy Gray – BIG
Geffen Records (3/27/07)
R&B / Pop
Macy Gray comes at us with BIG, her first studio album released in over four years, as we would never expect for Macy to say anything small or on the down-low. She brings a crew of talented support with her, including Black Eyed Peas front man, will.i.am, Ron Fair and herself as the executive producers of BIG and special collaborations with talents such as Fergie, Natalie Cole and Justin Timberlake.
“Finally Made Me Happy”, which is the current single, was a great way to kick off this album with special guest Natalie Cole, giving an anthem about finally being happy after a significant other leaves you. “Shoo Be Doo” is a catchy follow up with a Mariah Carey and Natalie Cole flavor, about trying to explain to your lover that you’re ready to go and not knowing how to say it. “What I Gotta Do” is a sweet song about missing your children when you can’t be there for them. There aren’t many songs about the parent-children relationship done in a positive light, and I think this song would be a nice surprise if given radio airplay.
“One for Me” is one of the strongest songs on the album and I think will get the most commercial success. The empowering “Okay” is about being able to move on from love, after not thinking you ever could. I really like Macy’s message of “Get up girl and dry your tears it’s messed up how he make you feel” for women.
“Glad You’re Here” continues with the soft R&B/pop flavor and with a cameo by Fergie, who is surprisingly tolerable and quite nice to hear in the background. “Slowly” was able to capture how life and love happen so fast and how “I wish I could take my time”.
“Ghetto Love” would be a fun video but otherwise it wasn’t one of my favorite tracks on the album, while “Strange Behavior” would make a Dixie Chicks “Goodbye Earl”-type video, about a guy who wants to kill her for her money and then she kills him instead.
“Get Out” was the strangest track on the album, referencing aliens (“I see the aliens nodding to the dope dope sounds”) as Macy enlists the talents of Justin Timberlake as guest producer. The Justin influence is definitely there, with this remix flavor, as well as the shamelessly self-serving lyric, “The beat of the century made by Justin”.
“Treat Me Like Your Money” is a underlining theme of the entire album, about finding someone who loves you for your self-worth and not your benjamins. The song also includes a nice sample of “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” and featuring will.i.am. who also is one of the executive producers of the album. I think this song says “I’m priceless for more than my material possessions” best and reminds me of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”
“Everybody” closes out with a call to the dance floor and a philanthropy and responsible shout-out to the world to “get up get out and do something go do your part and start chipping in.” This was my first full-album exposure to Macy and I enjoyed the diverse and musically-grounded experience. I appreciate Macy’s strength, independence and appreciation/recognition for self-worth as a artist and as a woman, which is reflected throughout BIG. Let’s hope Macy will no longer be on the down-low as her musical journey continues.