Rolling Stone - 3/18/04, p.724 stars out of 5
- "McKay's penchant for offhand satire and warped musical-comedy allusions aligns her [with] skewed songsmiths such as Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks. And she's only nineteen."
Rolling Stone - p.146
Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[I]t's McKay's laser-beam wit and able songwriting that made it one of the debut albums of the year."
Entertainment Weekly - 2/13/04, p.71
"Combine luxe jazz vocalist Julie London with a rapper and you'll get a sense of this unique singer-songwriter's charm." - Rating: A-
Uncut - p.963 stars out of 5
- "Think Randy Newman crooned in a voice like Peggy Lee and delivered with the panache of Rufus Wainwright."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1104 stars out of 5
- "From exquisite jazzy swoon to political satire, this has wit in spades, an irrepressible love of language and genuine originality."
Personnel: Nellie McKay (vocals, recorder, piano, organ, synthesizer, glockespiel, xylophone, percussion); Jade Synstelien (guitar, jun jun); Jay Berliner (Spanish guitar); Genovia Cummins (violin, fiddle); Patricia Davis, Joyce, Hammann, Carol Pool, Rob Shaw, Andy Stein (vioiln); Richard Locker (cello); Jum Hynes (flugelhorn); Birch Johnson (trombone); Ari Roland (upright bass); Corin Stiggall (electric bass); Billy Kaye (drums).
Recorded at Clinton Studios, New York, New York.
Personnel: Nellie McKay (vocals, recorder, piano, organ, synthesizer, vibraphone, glockenspiel, xylophone, percussion, chimes); Jade Synstelien (guitar); Jay Berliner (Spanish guitar); Emily Mitchell (harp); Cenovia Cummins (violin, fiddle); Rob Shaw, Patricia Davis, Andy Stein, Joyce Hammann, Carol Pool (violin); Richard Locker (cello); Charles Pillow (flute, alto saxophone); Norman Panto (accordion); Andy Snitzer (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Jim Hynes (trumpet, flugelhorn); Birch Johnson (trombone); Ari Roland (upright bass); Corin Stiggall (electric bass); Billy Kaye (drums).
Photographer: Amy T. Zielinski.
Arranger: Nellie McKay.
Ridiculously ambitious and amazingly entertaining, Nellie McKay's debut double album, GET AWAY FROM ME, riffs on Norah Jones with its title, but its musical scope extends beyond jazz and pop, even touching on hip-hop and Broadway-style show-tunes. From the get-go, it's clear that the 19-year-old McKay is uninhibited, unpretentious, and wildly talented. The album's opening track, "David," is a slice of swaggering, orchestral pop that immediately unveils McKay's bold voice and witty lyrics, nimbly setting the stage for her other eclectic compositions.
"Sari" is a full-on rap number, which comes as a surprise from someone who looks like a cross between Doris Day and Lucille Ball, but McKay pulls the stunt off with remarkable proficiency and a heavy dose of humor. With "Baby Watch Your Back," the young singer/songwriter sinks her teeth into a driving funk tune about a spurned lover, and, on "Waiter," she transports the listener to a dreamy restaurant scenario. Disc two of GET AWAY FROM ME offers up the jazzy "Won't U Please B Nice" (where McKay hilariously threatens a potential suitor) and the jaunty, piano-driven "Inner Peace." Bold, brash, and wonderfully funny, McKay's expansive record, produced by no less than Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, reveals a clever and imaginative performer who's only warming up.