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Macy Gray
- Talking Book

If anything, this album really makes you want to listen to Wonder’s earlier works.

Sebastian Skeet

Jan 8th 2013 | Label: Sony
Since her powerful soul debut thirteen years ago, Gray has struggled to make a mark on the charts. Lacking in focus and new material, she has done what so many others have in the past and recorded cover songs that at best keep their career floating. Taking on a Stevie Wonder album in its entirety is a concept that if anything if ambitious. Choosing the Talking Book record with so few hits on it may reflect how it's a wonderful album to play live. Gray's distinctive crackling voice is actually quite effective, even when her band try to take over at times.

There are a few songs you'll recognise straight away, including You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, a typical Stevie Wonder tune revolving around a sweet melody and simple groove. Gray's take on the classic Superstition is actually quite appropriate and interesting, even though it leaves behind the predictable groove you hear when bands cover the track. One of the best moments on Talking Book is Big Brother, where the combination of the lyrics and Gray's vocal technique match up perfectly. Her band is out to impress, and they tend to show off at times. There are a few songs like Tuesday Heartbreak where they are impressive yet slightly overbearing.

If anything, this album really makes you want to listen to Wonder's earlier works. Gray does a relatively good job of this, yet it would have been a little more impressive if she had penned some new songs and spoke from the heart again.

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