Sunday, May 16, 2010

Street Names / Off-Genre: Manhattan Avenue

Nellie McKay: Manhattan Avenue


Is is possible to go off-genre just minutes into your first album, in the transition from the first track to the second? Nellie McKay certainly gave it her best shot, opening 2004 debut Get Away From Me - the title a play on Norah Jones' Come Away With Me - with bouncy, radioready Contemporary Pop hit David, then suddenly transitioning from layered vocals and reggae-tinged beat to this torchy and smooth jazz vocal piano-bar tribute to the busy, seedy Brooklyn thoroughfare.

The rest of the album is more like the former than the latter, of course. To put the exception so far forward is shocking, and oh, so perfectly Nellie.

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