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Get Away from Me

Get Away from Me

4.2 13
by Nellie McKay

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A striking mix of radical and traditional, raw emotion and literate expression, hip-hop and vocal pop, Nellie McKay's Get Away from Me is the kind of feverishly inventive, sprawling album that only comes from young artists. Though it could've easily fit onto a single CD, it's a double-disc set designed to reclaim the feeling of flipping over a record; the back


A striking mix of radical and traditional, raw emotion and literate expression, hip-hop and vocal pop, Nellie McKay's Get Away from Me is the kind of feverishly inventive, sprawling album that only comes from young artists. Though it could've easily fit onto a single CD, it's a double-disc set designed to reclaim the feeling of flipping over a record; the back cover proclaims that McKay "is a proud member of PETA." While McKay's age (21 at the time of the album's release) and sound make comparisons to Fiona Apple, Nelly Furtado, and Norah Jones easy -- she even named her album Get Away from Me as a preemptive strike against it being lumped in with Jones' Come Away with Me -- McKay is a more esoteric and hyperactively creative artist. She seems determined to prove how smart and wide-ranging she is on the album, and for the most part, she carries it off. Juxtaposing songs like the swoony torch song to New York, "Manhattan Avenue," and "Sari," a rap song about everything that gets on McKay's nerves (including McKay herself), certainly demonstrates the extremes of her music. However, these rapid-fire stylistic shifts and the sheer amount of information that McKay puts in her songs sometimes makes the album more dizzying than dazzling. But Get Away from Me succeeds, sometimes in spite of itself, as a musical document of all of the contradictions of a 19-year-old young woman with more than half a brain in her head. Some of McKay's songs deal with fairly typical themes like coming to terms with womanhood, sexuality, and relationships, but McKay attempts to cover as much lyrical ground as she does musical territory, with mixed results. On "Work Song," it sounds like McKay has heard how soul-sucking a nine-to-five can be, but it doesn't have the ring of truth that some of her other songs do. "Ding Dong," on the other hand, deals with depression in a surprisingly sprightly way, and the similarly witty "Clonie" turns human cloning into a story about self-obsession. The traditional feel of McKay's songwriting style and voice and her subversive lyrics often give Get Away from Me the feel of being the soundtrack to some long-lost feminist musical. "It's a Pose" and "Won't U Please B Nice" (sample lyric: "If we part I'll eat your heart") apply McKay's sharp wit to men and love; "I Wanna Get Married" casts a languidly scornful eye on traditional notions of marriage. These songs, along with the equally charming album opener, "David," and closer, "Really," have a lighter touch that avoids the clever-cleverness that drags down some of McKay's work, but is still miles away from the mild-mannered coffee-table jazz she loathes. Get Away from Me is an exciting debut that could become a cult favorite among pissed-off girl-women of McKay's age; if she can focus her creative energy without sacrificing any of the bite of her debut, she'll become an even more impressive talent.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Jon Pareles
A tour de force from a sly, articulate musician who sounds comfortable in any era.
Blender - Stephen Holden
McKay is one of those talents who leave you holding your breath in anticipation of what could be next.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nellie McKay   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Percussion,Piano,Chimes,Glockenspiel,Recorder,Vocals,Xylophone,Vibes
Jay Berliner   spanish guitar
Emily Mitchell   Harp
Joyce Hammann   Violin
Birch Johnson   Trombone
Billy Kaye   Drums
Richard Locker   Cello
Carol Pool   Violin
Andy Snitzer   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Andy Stein   Violin
Corin Stiggall   Electric Bass
Cenovia Cummins   Fiddle,Violin,Soloist
Jim Hynes   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Soloist
Charles Pillow   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Belinda Whitney   Concert Master
Rob Shaw   Violin
Patricia Davis   Violin
Ari Roland   Upright Bass
Jade Synstelien   Guitar,Jun-Jun
Norman Panto   Accordion

Technical Credits

Geoff Emerick   Producer,Engineer
Paul Holderbaum   Orchestration
Phillip Stewart   Rhythm Consultant
Nellie McKay   Arranger,Composer

Customer Reviews

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Get Away from Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I so love this album, it's entirely different from anything else out on the market. There's pop influences, soul, hip-hop and some classic 50's style. I happen to have a promotional copy, but I intend on going out and buying the cd (I love my liner notes) because she deserves my money (and yours). This album is worth it's entire full price and more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She's Norah Jones meets Eminem meets The Beatles. And better than all of them. She's an amazing songwriter and clever lyricist, and can jam on many different instruments. The production work on this album is also first-rate (co-produced by Nellie herself). Get this album now and listen to it for weeks like I've been doing (I was lucky to score a promo 2 months ago).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awesome cd, haven't heard anything like it. Nellie Mckay is one gifted and unique chick.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Buy this CD, I will bet 5 to 1 you will like it. I can't describe it because it is original and I'm not a good enough writer describe something you have never heard before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For adults, Nellie's self-congratulatory tangents can be as grating as those of any nineteen-year-old who thinks she's seen and done it all. Her singing, playing, and lyrics do stand out on "Won't You Please Be Nice" and "Manhattan Avenue," and the jaunty "me and my dog" song is cute despite the overdone dog-panting, but most of the album -- about 1.5 CDs worth of it -- is replete with discordant chaff. Why the decision to make a dramatically uneven double album instead of one short, solid one? Listening to this CD was like going to see a movie that had fantastic previews -- only to learn the previews were the ONLY good parts of the movie. While the clever lyrics to "Sari" justify Eminem comparisons, Nellie's rapping doesn't; in her haste, she sputters, mushes, and garbles her words as though she forgot to take out her retainer first. Do rap lyrics count if you can't, well, rap them? And to put it more kindly than Nellie likely would, Nellie needn't worry much about potential comparisons with Norah Jones. But the album's adolescent title is another example of the immaturity that taints it. Nellie's so determined to flaunt her 'tude that she often forgets the writer's maxim to show, not tell. For example, her otherwise strong "I Want to Get Married" is horribly marred by a judgmental line in which the housewife protagonist wants to "remove the gloom/of my shallow life." Such heavy-handedness is totally unnecessary given that a series of interesting images had already effectively established the lonely would-be housewife's contradictory yearning for an isolated, hemmed-in domestic existence. The song falls flat at that point, collapsing under the freshman-fifteen-weight of its own lack of complexity. Nellie shows promise, but I'm holding out for her menopause album. She could really be something after she's had a chance to live a long -- and presumably unshallow -- life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't like this album, then you must not have a respect for art. This album is a pure work of art, from the lyrics, vocals, music, and even lay out of the CD. Nellie McKay blends jazz, pop, showtunes, and even rap. I consider that to be a lot more creative than whatever the latest album from some pretty face like Jessica Simpson or Hillary Duff contains. McKay is a true musician!
Guest More than 1 year ago
So young, so talented, its amazing. Ive never seen a young artist whose so original, her songs are amazing!!!! BUY THE FREAKIN ALBUM!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most psychotic music I have heard. I use to think the cure was depressing but, at least they had something enjoyable about thier music. This Cr&p makes you wanna beat someone or something. This would be great music to use to torture spys or the like with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an incredibly talented Jazz Pianist, then she sings and shatters the serenity. Her voice is actually pleasant, Jazzy and reminiscent of Ella, but the lyric content is grating. She flounders between her own self importance, mysogyny, and attempted social awareness. Flip, flop, flip, flop. Throw this fish back; it's beginning to smell. She needs to not take herself, or life so seriously. Lighten up Nellie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nellie McKay is nothing short of amazing! I first saw her perform "Its a Pose" on Conan O'Brian and instantly fell in love with the song! I searched it seemed everywhere for the alubm and found it at none other than Barnes and Noble! :) I dare anyone not find something they like on this CD. Sari is one of my all time favorites! This girl can do anything! I cannot wait for her next album, and I am keeping an eye out for tour dates! :)
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