The 10 Best Macy Gray Songs of All-Time

Macy Gray

Macy Gray first began performing and writing songs during her time at university. In 1999, her career went stratospheric with the release of her debut album, On How Life Is. The album went multi-platinum, picked up a slew of awards, and, with its phenomenally successful single, I Try, launched Gray into the international arena. Since then, she’s released nine further albums, picked up five Grammy nominations, and earned legions of fans around the world with her distinctive rasp. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Macy Gray songs of all time

10. Demons

 

In at number one on our list of the 10 best Macy Gray songs of all time is Demons, a collaboration between Gray and Fat Boy Slim. A collab between a DJ known for bringing the big beat genre to the mainstream in the 1990s and a singer best known as a latter-day Billie Holiday might not seem the most natural pairing in the world, but here, it works beautifully. Included on both Fat Boy Slim’s 2000 album Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars and Gray’s 2006 greatest hits compilation The Greatest Hits – Why Try Harder, the song hit number 16 in the UK on its release as a single in January 2001.

9. Finally Made Me Happy

 

On Finally Made Me Happy, Gray teams up with Nat King Cole to deliver 4 minutes of undiluted listening pleasure. With a little bit of jazz and a whole lot of soul, the song finds the duo putting their combined vocal prowess to good use as they warble, break, and soar in all the right places. Released in February 2007, it ht number 18 on the UK Club charts.

8. Lately

 

Macy Gray’s fifth album, The Sellout, might not have received an overwhelmingly positive reception on its release, but it’s by no means a disaster, effortlessly combining classic pop and flamboyant disco in a way that makes for effortlessly easy listening. One of its highlights is Lately, a dancefloor-ready barnstormer described by Entertainment Weekly as “a “sleek disco cut,” and by everyone else as a very good reason to buy the album. Released in June 2010, it hit number 8 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.

7. Sexual Revolution

 

Compared to the mega-selling On How Life is, Gray’s second album, The Id, came as something of a commercial disappointment. It was by no means a flop though, reaching number 11 on the Billboard 200, topping the charts in the UK, and reaching the top 5 in various other countries. Although it’s not as consistently strong as its predecessor, there are still plenty of nuggets to be found, with Sexual Revolution ranking as one of the sparkliest. Released as a single in November 2001, it reached number 2 on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart.

6. Shoo Be Doo

 

Big, Gray’s fourth album, might be a bit of a mixed bag, but while it occasionally veers into places it probably shouldn’t, it still has plenty for fans to savor. One of its most beguiling moments is Shoo Be Doo, a song that, as Entertainment Weekly notes, serves as an excellent showcase for Gray’s “fascinating cracks and warbles.” Released as the album’s second single, it reached number eleven on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart.

5. Beauty in the World

 

According to Gray, Beauty in the World was inspired by hearing her daughter laugh on a day she was feeling particularly miserable. “I didn’t even know what she was laughing at. I thought ‘at least she’s happy.’ And I felt at least I hadn’t failed there, because my daughter’s happy.” An anthemic folk song with plenty of exuberant hand claps, jangly tambourines, and meandering guitars, it’s one of the stand-out tracks from Gray’s fifth studio album, The Sellout. Released as a single in March 2010, it reached number 2 on the US Dance Club Songs chart and number 23 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

4. Do Something

 

Macy Gray first began performing and writing songs during her time at university. In 1999, her career went stratospheric with the release of her debut album, On How Life Is. The album went multi-platinum, picked up a slew of awards, and, with its phenomenally successful single, I Try, launched Gray into the international arena. Since then, she’s released nine further albums, picked up five Grammy nominations, and earned legions of fans around the world with her distinctive rasp. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Macy Gray songs of all time

3. Why Didn’t You Call Me

 

While Gray might recall other singers like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone on her debut, she’s also clearly someone from the post-hip-hop generation, with an adventurous, unpredictable quality to her songwriting and a sprightly playfulness to her ideas. Why Didn’t You Call Me is a case in point, showcasing Gray’s skills as much as a lyrist as a vocalist. Released in July 2000, the song earned Gray a top 40 hit on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Adult Top 40 chart.

2. Still

 

I Try, Gray’s career-defining hit single from her debut album, On How Life Is, sent her career into overdrive, peaking in the top ten in various countries and picking up awards and positive reviews left, right, and center. Following swiftly in its wake was Still. Released as the album’s third single in March 2000, it’s a poignant tearjerker that describes an abusive relationship from the female perspective. Although it failed to match up to the success of I Try, it still managed to reach number 18 on the UK Singles Chart and number 32 on the Adult Top 40 in the US.

1. I Try

 

In at number one on our list of the 10 best Macy Gray songs of all time is I Try. Released in September 1999 as the second single from her mega-selling debut On How Life Is, the song broke into the top ten of almost every country it charted in, taking her to number five in the US, number 6 in the UK, number 2 in Canada and number one in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. It also managed to snag the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and win a bunch of other awards and nominations to boot. Over twenty years after its first release, it remains her biggest and most popular song

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