Obligatory Villagers [Explicit] Explicit Lyrics
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The suite kicks off with McKay's shout out to newsworthy dog owner Maxine Shreck and ends with the gospel rave up Testify. In between the listener is treated to everything from sea chanties (Livin) to Latin ballads (Politan) to hip-hop pop (Identity Theft). Just in the space of one song (Testify) she goes from Mancini-style spy music to anthemic rap to SNL-horn ensemble jazz to raise-the-roof soul.
The album is incredibly well-served by McKay's choice of backing musicians, including Bob Dorough whose scratchy vocals provide a perfect counterpoint to young Ms. Nellie on Oversure and Galleon.
Give this album a couple of spins and the nifty arrangements and hook-laden melodies will stick in your head for weeks. Lyrically, McKay manages to take episodes from her own life and turn them into poetic vignettes. Like Steely Dan lyrics, they are vague enough to keep you guessing yet include enough concrete imagery to point you in the right direction.
One of the best albums of 2007!
I popped it into my car's CD player on the way home, and it has been there ever since. I am totally hooked! I have been buying records (showing my age here) for about 35 years, and have just a few favorite albums that never seem to get old. This one instantly entered my top 10 albums of all time...which is pretty amazing, considering those personal favorites go back to the 1970s!
How to describe this music? A lot of it I would class as jazz...or close to jazz...with sharp, often funny lyrics. About the best comparison I can think of would be a hybrid of Nora Jones (sound) with the Cherry Poppin' Daddies (lyrics). But even that is doing Nellie a dis-service, because her music is totally original and takes so many different forms. She also has some GREAT catchy musical hooks and elaborate orchestrations.
Just bought her first CD yesterday ("Get Away from Me") and really enjoyed that as well...but not quite as much as "Obligatory Villagers". Which means she is only getting better with time. Can't wait to hear the next one!
In light of Nellie's love for animals and her keen sense of humor, this may be one case where the clean version may be a truer representation of the artist.
Yes, I like the disc too, my only reservation being its short length. This is one talented, clever, original artist. But I'll stand aside and let others comment on the musical merits.
I also love her singing and the contrast between her and guest singer Bob Dorough - very cool. I gotta say, you don't hear stuff like this anywhere else (or I haven't)..
And the anticipation was fulfilled, and then some, on the opening number, "Mother of Pearl." Is this a slap at feminism, or a slap at those who would slap at feminism? Judging by the tag line, "I'm Dennis Kucinich, and I approve this message," I'm guessing the latter. Whichever, it's sharply written and nicely pulled off.
From there, IMO, the c.d. goes downhill.
The problems are twofold, essentially: production; and pastiche.
Production-wise, with Nellie McKay, it's all about the lyrics, and too many times you can't clearly hear them. Plus, she sings flat once too often for my taste - painfully so on the d-flat of the word "there" (after "danger") on "Testify," but also throughout the otherwise-catchy "Zombie." I was going to defend Ms. McKay at the expense of the producer, except that I see she co-produced the c.d.
But when I say "pastiche," I mean a maddening mish-mash of themes, both musical and lyrical. Take "Identity Theft," for example, supposedly this c.d.'s "masterpiece." What's it about? Is Nellie saying that we lose our identity when we go to college? Or is she saying we kill our own identities with shameless self-promotion, in search of those damned 15 minutes? Or, is the truth of the matter that one night she got especially blottoed, ranted into the tape recorder in a free-association, stream of consciousness mode of thinking, and out of that, essentially unedited, came the lyrics of this song? Just a guess, but I'll put my money on that possibility. Many ideas are fine; but one gestalt, please.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the third CD album of Nellie McKay that I have. Her attitudee and wonderful voice makes for great music. I really like her stuff.Published 11 months ago by Paul Moskowitz
She may not be for everyone, but I adore her. She certainly knows how to push buttons in a entertaining way. I enjoy her singing style, her over-the-top lyrics and her melodies.Published 14 months ago by Diane P. Jane
I bought this CD as a gift for someone who loves music. It was a great gift and very much appreciated.Published on December 28, 2013 by Donna B
This album packs a lot into barely a half-hour of music.I see now that Nellie McKay is way more than just a pretty gal with a ukelele and a retro jazz-age vocal style. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by David A. Malm
I heard Nellie McKay on NPR and this is my second album of hers. She's great!!! Thanks for this wonderful music!Published on January 19, 2013 by fran
i first learned of nellie mckay on a late-nite talk show..and she was singing 'long and lazy river' (not on this cd) which was amazing! Read morePublished on October 9, 2009 by Gloria DeWeese
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