NELLIE MCKAY – Get Away From Me (2004)

Review by: Rodrigo Lopes
Album assigned by: Dominic Linde

Nellie was only 21 years old in the release of her debut album, and it shows, but not in a bad way. She purposely go from one genre to another tapping on jazz, pop and hip hop with a joyful yet sarcastic attitude that carries with it how young she is. The two-part album is vibrant and quick witted and soars through a myriad of themes that goes from an obsession with herself in ‘clonie’ – where she proudly elects her clone as the best companion she could possibly find – to the dull image she portrays of a traditional marriage in ‘I wanna get married’. She has a good clear voice, and overall the arrangements of the songs are quite nice; nothing fancy, but tasteful, very ‘singer-songwritery’ if you will.

But the album is not without flaws. While I consider the CD to have very few filler songs, the fooling around with all those different styles and the mockery and cynicism in almost every lyric sometimes felt just a little bit too much, like she was trying too hard to make those transitions seem effortless and also to show how different of an artist she was.

Despite that, I found the album to be on the most part coherent, even though the themes and genres were so diverse. I think that her youth both helped and got in her way in this record. This has ‘debut album’ written all over it, it almost sounds experimental, and sometimes her inexperience ends up showing, but for me, a some part of the album’s charm was exactly there. Her goofiness and lighthearted approach makes this a very fun album to listen to. This also made possible for her to tackle deeper and more serious subjects while maintaining the carefree aura of the album.

This album is definitely not for everyone but I believe that it would resonate with quite a few people.