Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2000

I Try by Macy Gray

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Macy Gray's sassy R&B record updates an older style of soul music and brings it back to the charts.

Song: I Try
Artist: Macy Gray
Album: How Life Is
Songwriter: Macy Gray, Jeremy Ruzuma, Jinsoon Lim, David Wilder
Producer: Andrew Slater
B00000JQFG

Concept
Singer expresses her frustration at having to deal with an unrequited love relationship.

Lyric
A description of singer's difficulty in hiding her disappointment in her love affair. A classic hurt love situation expressed in hip wordage. More of a compilation of images than a specific story. I believe fate has brought us here. We should be together but we're not....... I play it off but I'm dreamin' of you. I'll keep my cool but I'm fiending........ I try to say goodbye and I choke, try to walk away and I stumble

Groove
The groove is one of this recording's most appealing features. Based on a straight ahead 8th note feel, a variety of overlaid hip-hop swung 16ths in both the guitar figure and the vocal phrasing give it a current feel

Melody
The melody in the verse is sung in the major pentatonic scale (no 4th and 7th, 1 2 3 -5 6 - 8) giving it a funky folky feel. However, the interval of a 4th is used in the chorus with a very unusual drop of a 7th in the last vocal riff. The phrasing of the melody is very repetitive, catchy and haunting all at the same time. The bridge is very monotone which contrasts with the wide sweep of the chorus.

Harmony
I Try stays in the major diatonic system for the verse and chorus using 7ths as the basic language while the bridge travels out of the key (I V and ii in the verse IV iii7 ii7 V7 in the pre-hook and I V IV IV/V in the chorus and bIIImaj7 v7 bIIImaj7 ii7 bVII7 vi7 ii7 II7 in teh unorthodox bridge).

Structure
Four-part song form. verse, pre-hook, and chorus, verse, chorus and post-hook repeated, bridge, pre-hook and chorus. A B A B C D B C

Signature
A flashy augmented chord reminiscent of an older era much like her visual playfulness with the furs.

Production
Great groove, funky feel, well produced and well performed vocal with Al Green-like soul singer style throughout.

Performance
Gray's sultry sassy vocal perfectly matches the attitude of the song.

Predicted Longevity
This recording has been on the charts for several weeks and has the elements to carve out a classic soul style niche. Not a cut for everyone, but strongly appreciated by its fans, this should be around for a while.

Album Cover: How Life Is

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