"Your role model is in therapy," Macy Gray informs listeners on the opening track of her new album, The Id. "You must be real far gone. You're relating to a psychopath."
The funk/soul singer doesn't really think she's lost her marbles she's just trying to prepare her fans for the succession of Freudian slips that follow on the next 12 songs.
"[The album] is about what you do before you think and before you edit your impulses," Gray said recently. "What you're really feeling and what happens when you act on that. Like, if you feel like jumping off a cliff and you actually do it, that's the most primal, purest form of you."
The Id titled after Freud's term for the most impulsive part of the unconscious mind hit stores September 18, as advertised on the dress Gray wore at the MTV Video Music Awards. The follow-up to her smash debut features guest appearances by Erykah Badu, Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante, Angie Stone, Billy Preston, Sunshine Anderson, Mos Def, the Roots' ?uestlove and Slick Rick.
To frame her libretto of instinct, Gray dishes up a mix of classic soul, funk, rock, hip-hop and techno. Some styles on the album, especially the nods to Eurodisco and hip-hop, were inspired by her travels supporting 1999's On How Life Is (see "Macy Gray Lets It All Hang Out On The Id"). Those influences are most pronounced on "Relating to a Psychopath" and the c'mon-let-loose "Sexual Revolution."
On the latter track, Gray sings, "Your mama lied to you all this time/ She knows as well as I/ You've got to express what is taboo in you/ And share your freak with the rest of us." But Gray said she did not intend the song as an advisory for the sexually repressed.
"The key phrase is 'my very own sexual revolution.' ... You grow up and you have all these limits on sex," Gray said.
Gray co-produced the album with collaborator Darryl Swann and signed on Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers) as an executive producer.
"It's just a much truer expression of me and where I'm coming from and whatever I wanted to say. I got to do whatever I wanted to do," she said.
For a feature interview with Macy Gray, check out "Macy Gray: Wizard of Id."