"RUBY" (Artistry Mu­sic)

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Music - Re­view: Pablo Gorondi

Macy Gray sounds mainly joy­ful and en­thu­si­as­tic on "Ruby" and the zest ev­i­dent across her 10th al­bum, even when the theme is mis­for­tune or heart­break, is in­fec­tious. Her trade­mark jazzy soul and R&B foun­da­tions are ac­counted for but the ar­range­ments have a de­cep­tively light touch and let Gray's vo­cals and ef­fer­ves­cent per­son­al­ity shine through.

Opener "Bud­dha" fea­tures a gui­tar solo by Gary Clark Jr. and back­ground vo­cals with a gospel feel, al­ter­nat­ing an up­lift­ing re­frain of be­ing "al­right now" with the know­ing "our days are num­bered."

The ul­tra-ro­man­tic "Over You"

— "I haven't had a drink since my last one/No clouds in my sky but I'm on one" — has a dy­namic horn ar­range­ment and a catchy re­frain and sounds most like her early hits. It's fol­lowed by "White Man" — no ex­tra credit for guess­ing who Gray is singing about — whose ha­tred, judg­ment and of­fen­sive chat­ter may end up hurt­ing him.

"Sugar Daddy" is a bub­bly col­lab­o­ra­tion with Meghan Trainor, whose in­flu­ence is ev­i­dent al­ready on the piano in­tro­duc­tion and coo­ing back­ing vo­cals, while "When It Ends" is all drama un­der­pinned by a slinky bass line.

"But He Loves Me" is such a plau­si­ble de­scrip­tion of when our in­stinct for self-preser­va­tion fails us that it sounds al­most like a par­ody, while reg­gae-tinged closer "Wit­ness" is among the al­bum's mu­si­cal peaks.

Pro­duc­ers Jo­han Carls­son, Tommy Brown and Tommy (Lump­kins) Parker may have helped boost Gray's con­fi­dence and "Ruby" is a sure­footed al­bum set in a mis­chievous heart of gold.

Macy Gray is en­thu­si­as­tic, in­fec­tious on fun 'Ruby'

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