Macy Gray, "Talking Book" (429 Records)
A mere seven months after the release of her "Covered" album, which included songs by Radiohead, My Chemical Romance and others, Macy Gray has taken on what some may consider an unthinkable task: revisiting one of Stevie Wonder's most iconic records, 1972's "Talking Book." It's a gutsy decision, and one that may raise a few eyebrows (as it should).
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But Gray mostly delivers the collection with a twist, making over hits such as "Superstition" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" in her own quirky fashion.
One of the most noticeable tracks is "You and I (We Can Conquer the World)," which highlights Gray's sweeter side, thanks to the song's harmonies. "You Got It Bad Girl" suits Gray's distinctive bass tone but doesn't show off her vocal flexibility as much as "Big Brother." The arrangement on "Blame It on the Sun" is different from the original. Wonder's silky vocal tone is now Gray's raspy soulfulness, but nevertheless it maintains its nostalgia.
However, the gaps in between suggest no one does Stevie better than the man himself, though Gray delivers a fresh alternative.
Whether it's been writer's block or a simple timeout from songwriting, perhaps after two cover albums Gray will return with her own material.
Check this out: "Tuesday Heartbreak" is a jam blending Gray's wild vocals over smooth sounding horns with an infectious backbeat.