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andee's world: Revisiting a Recent Classic...

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Revisiting a Recent Classic...

Nellie McKay; Get Away From Me


Oh, people, people! Have you heard this album yet?? I can't believe it's three years old already but it is and I don't think it's too early to call Get Away From Me a true classic.

It's a crying shame that most people still don't know who Nellie McKay is. Get Away From Me, her first album, is nothing short of a tour de force, an absolutely blinding display of unique talent, spread out over two discs, that never gets self-indulgent, never loses your attention even for a minute and never ceases to amaze. Nellie grabs you by your cheesy, oversized lapels with the opening blast, "David," and doesn't let go until she's whispered the closing lullaby, "Really," into your ear and says goodnight, you bastard.

Ok, so what does she sound like? Well, like many great artists, it's hard to say. These days it's easy to describe a lot of bands ("they sound exactly like Joy Division" is one that gets a lot of mileage). But this NYC-based enfant terrible (she was apparently only 21 when she made this terrifying piece of work!!) has so many disparate influences -- Tin Pan Alley, Eminem, 1970's AM radio pop, Doris Day -- that the result is bound to either be a big hot mess or sheer brilliance.

(In this case it's sheer brilliance).

The songs are stylistically all over the place, but they all hang together, thanks to the glue of Nellie's iron-clad sense of melody and arrangement, plus her DEVASTATING sarcastic wit. Nellie is a terror on her own, just one gal and a piano, but on this album many of the songs are highly orchestrated. On hip hop-based numbers like "Sari," she'll unleash a string of rapid-fire verbiage that will make you gasp for air.

Meanwhile, tunes like the dripping-with-sarcasm ode to domesticity, "I Wanna Get Married" sound like they could have been sung by Ella Fitzgerald, and believe me when I say that Nellie's voice is honeyed enough to justify that comparison.

Lyrically, she rails against complacency, Bush, animal cruelty, misogynists, the American Idol generation and all kinds of other sitting ducks. A lot of her targets are fish in a barrel, but her wit is so delicious that you can't help but smile as she decimates her opponents.

Nowadays, the record industry, in its death throes, is churning out product that gets more and more vapid, bland and forgettable every year. Artists like McKay, at least in the mainstream world, are an anomale -- and a total revelation.

Don't miss an opportunity to hear a truly brilliant young artist --
Listen to Nellie McKay!

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