Jun 12

Macy Gray: “Relating to a Psychopath”


Macy may not be a psychopath, but she just might have one or two bats loose in her belfry.

Macy Gray has had a sporadic career since her breakthrough debut album, 1999’s On How Life Is, which revealed her as one of the most original voices to appear on the music scene in many years. Even now there’s no one quite like her; only problem is, she’s had difficulty recording material that showcases her Billie Holiday-esque voice to its best effect. None of the albums following the debut have quite lived up to all the potential she showed on that first album. I keep hoping Gray will record her equivalent of Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, or Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis. I’m pretty sure she’s got it in her…hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

In the meantime, she has recorded quite a few great songs along the way, so there’s no shortage of Macy Gray material to enjoy while we wait for that one stone cold masterpiece. And one of my favorites is the insanely funky “Relating to a Psychopath,” the lead track from her second album, 2001’s The Id. Or maybe I should just call it “insane” — Gray sings of her deranged mental state throughout, warning her lover/friend/fans(?) that they might be getting more than they were asking for by being close to her. Hopefully it was just a flight of fancy — she’s definitely an odd duck, as they say, but I haven’t heard of her being totally nutty quite yet. But whether she was believing what she was singing or not, she turned “Psychopath” into one of the more unusual singles of 2001, bringing to it a great vocal performance of natural fluidity — only Gray has the offhand, near-genius vocal skills to pull off lyrics like these without it feeling contrived.

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