What does a neo-soul songstress extraordinare do for an encore when what came before (the multimillion-selling album On How Life Is) spawned a Grammy-winning single ("I Try") and collaborations with F

What does a neo-soul songstress extraordinare do for an encore when what came before (the multimillion-selling album On How Life Is) spawned a Grammy-winning single ("I Try") and collaborations with Fatboy Slim and Black Eyed Peas? If that artist is Ohio native Macy Gray, she takes a hard look in the mirror and begins writing from the most pure of places: the subconscious. But this is no psycho-drama. The Id is carefree and optimistic, steeped in free love and hippie-shake sensibilities (revel in the disco-splashed "Sexual Revolution," the beauty that is "Sweet Baby" featuring Erykah Badu, and the positively giddy "Hey Young World II" featuring Slick Rick). There are times, though, when buoyancy gives way to conflict, as on the Sly Stone-etched "Harry" and the Billie Holiday-inflected "Don't Come Around." After all, Ms. Gray is only human.—MP

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