By now we should all be aware that the darling known as Corinne Bailey Rae has been MIA for a spell because she suffered the unexpected loss of her husband. Jason Rae died of a drug overdose, at the pinnacle of his wife's mainstream music success which jumped off in 2006. Flashing forward, the soft-voiced Brit who charmed us in "Put Your Records On" has re-emerged after such sadness and bestowed upon us her pain, hope and memories in her new release The Sea.
This is a CD worth purchasing. Corinne's first single, "I'd Do It All Again," is one of stark beauty. The video for the song may have been a necessity in our visually-obsessed society, but it adds nothing that the song hasn't already delivered in large doses of raw, achingly poignant lyrics and a delivery that moves you. While we learned that Corinne Bailey Rae was a thoughtful songwriter and a fetching vocalist with her first CD, on this new disc we get more than a glimpse into the reality that she has true grit and can embody the needed strength to move forward, a truth that escapes many who become victims of their own pain.
While I teared up, admittedly, upon listening to "I'd Do It All Again"--imagining the song an ode to her late husband--I could not help but bob my head and swerve in my seat to the funky bass and up-tempo of "The Blackest Lily," a wonderful departure from the solemn quiet of her first album. The CD continues on with an incredible pacing of songs that are injected with a soulfulness that was not inherent in what we may have peeped from Ms. Bailey Rae before. However, her brand of soulfulness is more Fiona Apple than Mary J. Blige. But, that's way OK.
Stand-outs on the 11-track CD besides the ones mentioned above are "I Would Like to Call It Beauty," which reminds me a touch of my favorite "Like a Star" the lead single from her first release, and the enchanting "Diving For Hearts," which has a musical intro that is simply beautiful. The song illustrates the illusion of being in water. This is my favorite by far with its expansive instrumentation carrying her vocals to peaks and lows and then dipping out almost unexpectedly into a 21st century "Bohemian Rhapsody" in length and emotion.
Corinne recently said in interview that, "The Sea had a feeling of being protected. I was thinking of spiritual experiences and connection. I was really happy to hear that song from this side, thinking I feel that even more now. I'd made a record I could still relate to."
And, happily, for us, we can relate to it as well.