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Eradicating the Line Between Love and Hate

Macy Gray dives into lurid melodramas that play out like pulp-fiction narratives.
Macy Gray dives into lurid melodramas that play out like pulp-fiction narratives.

Love seldom comes easy in Macy Gray's ballads. Betrayal, abandonment and even physical violence often pepper her songs, as she offers vivid accounts of love affairs that sometimes seem too real for comfort. Other times, as on "Strange Behavior," she dives into lurid melodramas that play out like pulp-fiction narratives.

Drawing on an antihero persona reminiscent of the one heard on 1999's "I've Committed Murder," Gray shoots her husband after he tries to kill her for insurance money. It might seem like an act of self-defense, especially after Gray tells him that he wouldn't have to attempt such a ghastly act if he had a job. (His glib response: "Oh my God! You're such a hater.") But Gray asserts herself as a selfish grifter when she admits that he had an even bigger insurance policy, and that she also needed the financial boost.

Showing little remorse, Gray blithely spends his money, offering, "He'll be here but he's deceased," when people inquire about his whereabouts. The whole storyline brings to mind Quentin Tarantino working on a TV daytime soap opera in which the line separating love and hate vanishes completely.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for BETJazz.com. He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.