Nellie McKay is wacked out, seriously, this gal marches to the beat of her own drummer. If the title of her debut album didnt show that, (“Get Away From Me” was a play on two other albums titles, Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me and Jane Monheit’s Come Dream with Me) then this new double disc version of Pretty Little Head will.
Dont misunderstand though, Nellie is really an amazing talent. And being wacked out in the realm of musicians is kinda like being mayor in some ways, the most creative and eccentric can be the best. McKay has been through the gauntlet in the past year though, as Sony decided to chop Pretty Little Head in half and then drop Nellie as well. Mostly due to the disagreement over this album. Nellie wanted the 23 song, 2 disc version to see the light of day, while the label insisted on a 16 song version. You know the way this story goes, artist and labels stand fast, and part ways.
Well, Pretty Little Head is now dropping, just as Nellie intended tomorrow on her own label, Hungry Mouse Records. The double disc offering weaves in and out of genre and tune at times as Nellie continues to defy categorization. She jumps from piano ragtime tune to hip hop beats and then back with yodeling, yes yodeling. Nellie also employs the help of friends and music savants Cindy Lauper on “Beecharmer” and KD Lang on “We Had It Right”.
The album is quite entertaining, even if you arent a fan of McKays work, and the story is all its cracked up to be. I think this quote from McKay describing her label despute says alot about her approach to music.
“All that matters to me is that I can continue to make irritating music which will baffle and enrage.”