Ask me about unfulfilled potential, and I’ll tell you about Macy Gray. Macy’s 1999 debut album, “On How Life Is”, was damn near perfect. She revealed herself as a unique (to say the least) voice with an interesting lyrical outlook on life. Totally not cookie-cutter, and I dug it. And so did the millions of other people who bought the album. I saw her live a couple of years later, opening for Dave Matthews Band, and although she overdid it on the kookiness a little bit, her band was super-tight and the new material she played was solid.

Her sophomore effort, “The Id”, was a good but not great effort that probably suffered because it was released a week after September 11th. Album #3, “The Trouble with Being Myself”, continued the slide, and then Macy was released from her Sony contract. After being saved by and Interscope Records, Macy returned with 2007’s “Big”, which was pretty damn inconsistent. Sales were underwhelming as well.

Now, Macy’s returned with “Beauty in the World”, the first single from her upcoming fifth album, “The Sellout” (an ominous title if I’ve ever heard one) and I’m really hoping that it’s not indicative of what the rest of the album sounds like. This is a total…well, sellout move. If you ran “I Try” through a Xerox machine about 25 times and sucked all the soul out of it, you’d get this song.  I like Macy enough that I’ll probably give the album a chance anyway, but I’ve gotta say that “Beauty” leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

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