Get Away from Me
First Appeared at The Music Box, April 2004, Volume 11, #4
Written by John Metzger
Where Norah Jones croons, "Come hither," Nellie McKay snarls, "Not so fucking fast." Hence the title of her debut Get Away from Me, which playfully jabs at Jones’ blockbuster hit Come Away with Me. Not that McKay doesn’t desire a relationship; she just wants it on her terms, played by her rules. She skewers the Brady Bunch lifestyle of submissive, stay-at-home moms on I Wanna Get Married and obsesses over another gal’s man on Baby Watch Your Back. Yet sentiments about love are just the tip of the iceberg as far as she’s concerned.
On the lead-off track David, McKay lands a knock-out blow to those who idolize the superstars of pop culture, and then turns her attention to politics and nearly everything else that impacts the life of a young woman growing up in Western society. Much like Eminem, she uses a biting, sarcastic sense of humor as a means of conveying her outrage, and her thought provoking lyrics ring truer because of it.
Unlike most teens posing as pop stars, McKay’s talent isn’t manufactured. She’s not a golden-voiced diva who was surrounded by ringers in order to perform lackluster material. While her voice is resplendent, McKay writes her own tunes; she performs on her own albums; and it’s her vision, not someone else’s that guides her. Indeed, McKay’s juxtaposition of song styles is enough to give marketing executives whiplash-induced conniptions. Her album sequences through an eclectic mix of hip-hop, jazz, Broadway, Tin Pan Alley, reggae, and Beatle-esque pop without batting an eyelash, and the only thing keeping them from tossing her to the curb until she can craft something more generic is the fact that she’s an immense talent who just might save the business from itself.
Get Away from Me is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box