Jon Hornbuckle reviews ‘Covered’, the latest offering from Macy Gray.
We haven’t heard from Macy Gray since her 2010 album, The Sellout, but she’s back with her latest collection, Covered, which includes her take on songs by the likes of Kanye West, Eurythmics, Radiohead, My Chemical Romance and many more. But this covers album has a whole lot more creativity and originality in the mix than we are used to seeing on the typical ones churned out around Mothers’ and Valentine’s Day.
When you’re covering songs that are already classics you’re in dangerous territory. To some, it could seem like you have run out of your own ideas, but Gray uses it as another opportunity to showcase her talent, interpreting each song in her own unique style.
Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ is re-worked as a jazzy throwback, with Gray’s trademark, husky vocals serenading the soulful beats. A highlight of the collection is Gray’s take on Eurythmics’ 1984 hit ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’, with the eerie nature of the track brought up to date with a haunting synth orchestra. Another stand-out is her version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, the definition of cinematic balladry.
The over-arching theme of the album, however, is that Gray’s voice remains firmly at the forefront. Macy would make a brilliant coach on The Voice; her whole career has seen her balance mainstream success with credibility and she clearly has buckets of unique talent to draw on.
One potential problem for Covered is that Gray has chosen to cover a diverse range of artists. It is doubtful there are many people who have tracks by Colbie Caillat, Metallica, and Kanye West all on one iPod, but hats off to her for bringing them together, as it strangely works. Anyone who listens to Covered will therefore likely hear tracks that are new to them, so by covering these songs, Gray will have brought them to the attention of a whole new audience – arguably how a good cover album should be done. Having said all that, we do hope a new studio album, full of original material from Ms Gray, won’t be too far away.
Go Get It: ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’
Forget It: ’Sail’