US neo-soulster's third album features walk-ons from Beck and Dallas Austin

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Macy Gray – The Trouble With Being Myself

With her second (albeit successful) album proving a little too maverick for mainstream fans, it looked for a second like Macy might be the new Terence Trent D’Arby?godhead one year, forgotten the next. Yet she’s kept her eye on the ball (when not appearing in Spider-Man) over the 18 months spent recording her third. From opening single “When I See You”, which evokes both the Jackson Five and Janet Jackson, the mood is up. Sunny funk (Clintonesque in spurts) pours from most tracks, veiling the odd lyric about single moms, and the slowies are lit by noble torches. If this was Rod nobody would glance twice at it, but it’s Macy, and as such will fly fashionably off the racks. Let’s be fair: she’s one of the few industry-saviours with soul, and is indeed being herself, no trouble.