THE SEA (CORINNE BAILEY RAE)


THE STORY SO FAR:

Corinne Bailey Rae’s new album, The Sea was co-produced by Bailey Rae with Steve Brown, and Steve Chrisanthou, who produced many of the songs on her debut album, which has sold four million copies worldwide. Bringing together a new band of musicians, Bailey Rae recorded the album mainly in Leeds and Manchester, England. Her voice, always an expressive and soulful instrument, resonates with a poignant and newfound depth on The Sea. Loss and grief are recurring themes yet a sense of beauty and wonder ultimately radiates from the album’s dark corners.

TRACK LIST

1. Are You Here
2. I’d Do It All Again
3. Feels Like The First Time
4. The Blackest Lily
5. Closer
6. Love’s On Its Way
7. I Would Like To Call It Beauty
8. Paris Nights/ New York Mornings
9. Paper Dolls
10. Diving For Hearts
11. The Sea

THE CRITICISM:

Corrine’s first album had that sunny day, holding hands, walking through the grass barefoot kind of feel to it. “The Sea” is more therapeutic. She has totally abanded her bubblegum style with rock themed songs like “Paper Dolls”. “The Blackest Lily” is another fast paced song that sounds like it should have had Cyndi Lauper singing the hook. (And I think I heard auto-tune at the end.) The problem is that Corrine’s voice is not made for that genre. She doesn’t have the voice of a Erykah Badu so she gets lost behind the rhythm. Besides those couple setbacks the album is very good. Her poetic lyrics impress me on “Closer, I Do It All Again & Diving For Hearts” Mid tempo songs like “Feels Like The First Time & Paris Nights/New York Mornings” have a good groove. There’s a different vibe with her ballads, they are all depressing like on “Love’s On The Way & I Would Like To Call It Beauty”. And the title track is good but it ends the album on a very sad note.

“Feels Like the First Time” adds slightly discordant piano and a shuffling rhythm (accented by rhythm guitar), with the lyrics reflecting the less-than-perfect love affair of “Like A Star.”  “Love’s on Its Way” sounds like a lament, but like “I’d Do It All Again,” expresses optimism. “I’ve never felt more powerless,” she sings mournfully, but then hopes for new love: “Love’s on its way/I hope it won’t be too late,” she sings.  At this refrain the band explodes into a strong, bass-driven beat, suggesting an emotional crescendo of grief.

Corinne dishes out some funky pop-rock, flirts with a Norah Jones-style singer/songwriter approach, some wistful bossa-soul fusion and subtle trip-hop flourishes—even a string-laden epic that would fit nicely in a lounge scene from a ’60s Bond flick. As a vocalist, Rae’s restraint is far more powerful than any over-emoting belter on the pop circuit.

“The Sea” is a very mature work from a poppy songstress. Will this mark a career change for the lady? Who knows? But, I welcome the soulful long and lorn songs that are displayed on this album. I can easily see this release cleaning up during the next Grammy season.

THE BREAKDOWN

Final Score:  95% – A

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