On How Life Is
The Music Box's #3 album for 1999
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2000, Volume 7, #2
Written by John Metzger
So, you say that youíre not really a fan of hip-hop, and you canít figure out why in the world there is such a buzz about Lauryn Hill. In addition, you arenít exactly pleased with the commercial sludge that, these days, seems to pass as soul and R&B music, and instead you long for the meatier fare that had its heyday several decades ago. Well then, itís time to rejoice because R&B is back, largely due to Macy Grayís debut On How Life Is.
Grayís voice invokes Aretha Franklin and Billie Holliday as much as it does Janis Joplin, and like her predecessors, she exhibits a strong-willed demeanor, which masks the vulnerability that lies within her. Gray delivers her songs with a natural style and grace, combining elements of R&B, soul, hip-hop, funk, and rock while conveying a wide spectrum of emotions. The topics of her songs drift from stagnant relationships (Still) to born-again spirituality (I Canít Wait to Meetchu) to social vigilantism (Iíve Committed Murder) ó all with a world-weary air that far surpasses her 29 years on the planet. Of course thereís also Grayís first single ó her transcendent and ebullient ode to love I Try ó which, if thereís any justice in this world, will be the hit of the decade.
With future releases, Gray is only going to improve as she begins to mature as a songwriter. After all, she already has quite a head start at crafting lyrics that resonate with the very essence of human emotion, and once you hear the music, just try to shake these songs from the deepest recesses of your brain. Itís not only impossible, but when it comes right down to it ó you donít really want them to leave you. Consequently, On How Life Is is one of the strongest debut albums to be released in a long, long time.
43rd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Female Pop Vocal Performance of the Year
On How Life Is is also available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box