Home Read Classic Album Review: Macy Gray | The Trouble With Being Myself

Classic Album Review: Macy Gray | The Trouble With Being Myself

The vocalist is still searching for songs as unforgettable as her pipes on her third LP.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Personality, as the famous philosopher Jules Winnfield once said, goes a long way. And if anybody in the hip-hop and soul ranks has personality, it’s Macy Gray.

In fact, make that personalities. Funny and funky, sexy and silly, hilarious and homicidal — quirky diva Gray is all of these things and more on her third album The Trouble With Being Myself. Too bad the one thing she isn’t yet is a great songwriter. As always, her instantly identifiable helium-and-sandpaper rasp — part Betty Boop, part Rod Stewart, part Carol Channing, part Billie Holiday — is a spectacular, stunning instrument that mesmerizes the listener. And her lyrics, which run the gamut from the frankly sexual (Come Together) to the frankly shocking (the ironically titled My Fondest Childhood Memories), definitely stick in your brain. But as it was on her 2001 album The Id, most of the music here lacks the same level of courage, originality and adventure. Most of these celebratory tunes are perfectly servicable but fairly generic R&B and hip-hop grooves that seem designed more for their chart potential than for their compatibility with Gray’s lyrics. Ultimately, after three discs that mark her as one of the most exciting and individual voices in contemporary music, Gray remains a talent in search of a worthy collaborator. After a few sessions with The Trouble With Being Myself, it seems like the real trouble with being Macy Gray is she has too much personality for her own good.