“Get Away from Me” (Columbia)
The most astonishing debut of this or likely any year, 19-year-old Nellie McKay and her two-CD set are the strongest argument against the notion of a closed “Great American Songbook” since Elvis Costello. Easily making the leap from classic, Cole Porter-style pop with her Julie Londonesque vocals to contemporary raps that combine Eminem’s facility with They Might Be Giants’ wit and early Dylan’s political outrage, McKay is an astonishingly mature talent belying her youth. Along the way, she does funk, rock, Latin, ‘60s girl group, blues, reggae and jazz. No surprise that this was produced by the man who engineered The Beatles’ “Revolver” and Costello’s “Imperial Bedroom” – time may prove this album stands alongside those classics. [ 3/14/04 ]
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