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Corinne Bailey Rae ‘The Sea’

Corinne Bailey Rae‘s self-titled debut album garnered her MOBO awards and Grammy nominations, topped the UK charts, and made her a star over in the States – but, in all honesty, the breezy jazz-popof that LP was rather bland. Sure, it brought us a wonderful singing voice and a nice soundtrack to dinner parties throughout 2006, but it certainly didn’t put Corinne in the same league as Amy WinehouseFiona Apple or even Norah Jones.

In 2008 her husband died of an accidental, alcohol influenced methadone overdose, and this tragedy has clearly shaped Corinne‘s second album – ‘The Sea‘ sees a move in a deeper, more serious direction.

Opener ‘Are You Here‘ is a heart-rending ballad, with delicate vocals and driven by some understated electric guitar picking, it showcases a more melancholic songwriting style, in the vein of the late Elliott Smith. Track two, ‘I’d Do It All Again‘ is by far and away the greatest and most memorable singleBailey Rae has ever released – written directly after an argument with her late husband, the emotion captured is inspirational. The only other song that comes close to having the same kind of passion and impact as this opening couplet is the building ‘Love On Its Way‘ which starts with some soft piano and brooding vocals and slowly picks up to big, bold climax that’ll send a shiver down your spine.

There are some tuneful, faster-paced numbers with a more guitar driven sound, such as the energetic ‘Blackest Lily‘ and pop-tastic ‘Paris Nights/New York Mornings‘ both of which surpass any of the upbeat tracks on her debut album. When Bailey Rae lets her music and lyrics lead her down this new, more solemn path, the resulting maturity and emotion makes her ten times more captivating than she ever was on her debut. However, in between these gems she offers her run-of-the-mill jazz-popnumbers, the kind of songs that made her famous, but the kind of songs that made her so forgettable in the first place.

Despite the overly polished production, Corinne Bailey Rae‘s ‘The Sea‘ is an improvement on her debut simply because of the raw emotion she conveys, an aspect that was noticeably missing from that first album. Of course, this is because of the regrettable hardship she has had to endure, and one does get the feeling that it is only because we know of the tragedy that her songs have such impact. Either way, Bailey Rae has crafted an album that, for the most part, you will want to sit down and actually listen to, rather than play in the background when your Nan comes round for tea.

Tracklist: Corrine Bailey Rae – The Sea

01 Are You Here
02 I’d Do It All Again
03 Feels Like the First Time
04 The Blackest Lily
05 Closer
06 Love’s on Its Way
07 I Would Like to Call It Beauty
08 Paris Nights / New York Mornings
09 Paper Dolls
10 Diving for Hearts
11 The Sea

Originally published by Rivmixx here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on February 24, 2010.

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