No one can accuse Nellie McKay of being predictable. Just when you think you've got her pegged as an obscene lyricist who will speak out against anything and anyone she loathes, she'll release a tame collection of Doris Day covers called "Normal As Blueberry Pie." A natural, if somewhat mocking homage (in terms of the photographs used for the album), Nellie's voice does justice to the iconic songstress of the feel-good early 1960s era.
The album opens with the classic "The Very Thought of You," but from there McKay veers toward the lesser appreciated songs of Doris Day, like "Do Do Do" and "Black Hills of Dakota." While still maintaining the original arrangements and lyrics, McKay finds a way to make each song her own, possibly because they are not some of Day's most lauded and well-known works.
There are some who might see this as a vanity project, an undeserving comparison between a legend and a connoisseur of a legend, but that simply isn't so. If nothing else, McKay opens a new generation's eyes to the sweet-natured, artifice-free songs of Doris Day. Hopefully though, McKay does not think that making this album exempts her from a return to form. After the brevity of her third studio album, Obligatory Villagers, an extensive, profanity-ridden track list for her next venture is absolutely essential.