Quick Spins: Corinne Bailey Rae's 'The Sea'

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corinne Bailey Rae


Corinne Bailey Rae has always seemed to sing through a down-turned mouth, but still, many of the songs on her 2006 eponymous debut came across as sunny and precious -- often overly so. On her sophomore effort, "The Sea," a thread of melancholy connects the material; even in the album's lightest moments, there is none of the girlish levity of a song like "Put Your Records On."

Bailey Rae recorded "The Sea" after the sudden 2008 death of her husband, musician Jason Rae, and her grief is on display with the heartbreaking "Are You Here" and "I'd Do It All Again." But maturity, rather than sadness, is the dominant feature of "The Sea," which comes off as an intimate tribute to her husband ("This album, like everything I do, is made to try and impress Jason Bruce Rae," she writes in the liner notes) rather than a grim eulogy.

The British singer has a Sade moment on the torch song "Feels Like the First Time" and rocks out a bit on "The Blackest Lily" (with help from the Roots' ?uestlove on drums and tambourine) and the '80s retro-feeling "Paper Dolls." On the husky, synth-and-horn-filled exasperated love song "Closer" ("I'm tired of the making up/Don't you feel that you've had enough?" she sings) more than ever, Bailey Rae sounds just like the star that she is.

-- Sarah Godfrey

Recommended tracks:

"Are You There," "Feels Like the First Time," "Closer"

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