Macy Gray sounds mainly joyful and enthusiastic on “Ruby” (Artistry Music).
That zest is evident all through this surefooted album, even when the theme is misfortune or heartbreak, and it’s infectious.
Her trademark jazzy soul and R&B foundations are there. But the arrangements have a deceptively light touch, allowing Gray’s vocals and effervescent personality to shine through.
“Buddha” opens the album and features a guitar solo by Gary Clark Jr. and background vocals with a gospel feel.
The ultra-romantic “Over You” — “I haven’t had a drink since my last one/No clouds in my sky but I’m on one” — has a dynamic horn arrangement and catchy refrain and sounds most like her early hits.
“Sugar Daddy” is a bubbly collaboration with Meghan Trainor, whose influence is evident on the piano introduction and cooing backing vocals.
And there’s “White Man,” whose hatred, judgment and offensive chatter might end up hurting him. No extra credit for guessing who Gray’s singing about here.