Review: Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
by Winston "Stone" Ford
It seemed like only yesterday that we saw fresh faced Leeds singer Corinne Bailey Rae burst onto the scene. Her self-titled debut album, laced with pop hits “Like A Star,” and the empowering “Put Your Records On,” made her a critical and commercial darling.
After experiencing the death of her husband, it seemed like Corrinne would be out of the limelight for good. But late last year, she emerged on via the Internet to announce her return, followed shortly by her emotional appearance on Later With Jools Holland singing “I’d Do It All Again,” which was written two months before the death of her husband.
Her sophomore album, titled The Sea, is stronger, more mature, and more refined than her previous effort. The album begins heavy, with the guitar-driven “Are You Here,” and “All Again,” and the “blood on the streets” reference in the spooky “Love’s On Its Way” doesn’t recall the sunny Corinne of the past. However The Sea isn’t as gloomy and dark as a London street. Upbeat and funky tracks like “The Blackest Lily” (think of a Lenny Kravitz track with female vocals), and “Paris Nights New York Mornings,” will most certainly get you dancing.
Rae also explores new territory on this project. The uber-soulful “Closer,” is Corrinne’s attempt at 70’s inspired US R&B, and the listener almost witness her shed her indie rock roots and transform into a sexy female soul icon, while tracks like the organ-laced “I Would Like To Call It Beauty,”and “Diving for Hearts” takes her into a new world entirely.
Even though the album blends several different styles together, the mood and feel of the project remains consistent. Each song, though different, is a well crafted and well written masterpiece, with inspirations from the past yet, forward facing. While most American pop females seem like they were created in a marketing lab (Ke$ha, cough), Corrinne’s second album is proving that the the UK female renaissance started earlier this decade is still strong.