Bruise On the Sky
Beneath the Underdog
Nellie McKay has proven to be too complex a musical artist to be a simple pop star. For 2010’s Home Sweet Mobile Home, there’s plenty of variety. “Caribbean Time,” “Bodega!,” “Unknown Reggae” and “Caribbean Light” head down to the islands for a little reggae and calypso. “Beneath the Underdog” transplants those grooves into a New York state of mind. “Bruise On the Sky” is a bright pop tune with a dark world outlook. (“What I hoped would be my rainbow, was just a bruise on the sky.”) “No Equality” adds horns to its funky base. “Adios” uses a ukulele to gets its point across. “Please” features the kind of spooky mood heard on the works of singer Sam Phillips. “Dispossessed” echoes the exuberant flow of New Orleans jazz. “Coosada Blues” and “Bluebird” take the jazz into a smoky nightclub for a little slow romance. “The Portal” is a quiet piece of sensitive singer-songwriting where her voice plays against itself in elegant harmony.