Album: Macy Gray, The Sellout (Concord/Island)

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The Independent Culture

While The Sellout represents an improvement on Macy Gray's last couple of albums, it still suffers much of the same frustrating patchiness, that distinctively emotive voice squandered on material that simply doesn't deserve it, like the nondescript ballad "Still Hurts" and the grim duet with Bobby Brown, "Real Love".

But for the first few tracks, it has an engaging charm that's irresistible: featuring Matt, Duff and Slash, "Kissed It" is a lumbering boogie stomp with a saucy subtext ("I was gonna leave you, then you kissed it"), while the single "Lately" cruises along on a smooth R&B glide, Gray's layered voices filtered through various different effects. Best of all may be "Beauty in the World", where strummed acoustic guitar and handclaps collude infectiously behind the catchy invocation "There is beauty in the world/ Shake your booty, boys and girls".

DOWNLOAD THIS Beauty in the World; Kissed It; Lately