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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"I Try"

Macy Gray - I Try (1999)

This song was released as a single in September of 1999 everywhere except North America. Where it was released in January of 2000. Do artists still do that now?

A great look back to soul of an bygone era. The instrumentation here is lush and beautiful and full of real instruments, not software. We've got a Hammond organ, piano, strings, and a drum beat that sits right behind the beat, keeping us laid back. When the drums drop out and all we hear is the vocals we get tense, leaving us wanting more.

Macy Gray's voice has been described as a muted trumpet, a whiskey soaked lounge singer, and harsh and raspy. I think it works so well here. The "rough" in her voice comes across as nervous at the beginning of the song, and then slowly builds until we realize that the song is about a break up and we hear the heart break in her voice. By the end, when she is layered back over herself, that "rough" is anguish and cathartic release.

P.S. Her cover of Nothing Else Matters is pretty cool.

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