Macy Gray: The Id

Macy Gray's irresistible, froggy-voiced, funky soul has made her an unlikely superstar, winning her an assortment of awards, selling millions, and earning the seemingly unlikely support of Rosie O'Donnell. But if The Id, the follow-up to Gray's 1999 debut On How Life Is, is any indication, fame and fortune haven't made her any saner. The theme of madness recurs throughout The Id (song titles include "Freak Like Me," "Relating To A Psychopath," and "Give Me All Your Lovin' Or I Will Kill You"), a defiantly oddball album that careens into demented carnival funk on "Oblivion" when it's not pairing a children's chorus with eternally contradictory guest rapper Slick Rick (here singing in praise of "morals and values") on "Hey Young World Part 2." Gray's loopiness manifests itself in some terrific lines—"It's amazing what a gun to the head can do / My baby loves me now as hard as he can"—though it's one reason The Id feels somewhat overstuffed on a few comically ambitious, guest-laden tracks. Amazingly, the disc still feels cohesive in spite of its unpredictability, aided by can't-miss crowd-pleasers like the irrepressible disco-pop blowout "Sexual Revolution." Nothing on The Id reaches the smoothly assured perfection of On How Life Is' ubiquitous "I Try," but that doesn't matter when the fallout of Gray's stardom is this messily compelling.

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