CD Review – Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
Some call her the female John Mayer; others call her the black Norah Jones. Either way, Corinne Bailey Rae is a pop force. With sales of her debut self-titled album in excess of 4 million copies worldwide, Rae quickly garnered comparisons to Sade, Macy Gray and Erykah Badhu when she broke out in 2006. But there are many who didn’t like her sleepy style of singing. Unfortunately, with her new album, The Sea, those people won’t find anything to change their minds as she barely sings above anything louder than a whisper on any track.
Still, Rae has matured in the three years she took to release this her sophomore, and indeed she’s had to; shortly after achieving success, Rae had to mourn the suicide death of her husband. In pop music, that kind of back story sometimes works, but Rae’s case, what that translates to is poor album sales (the album has only sold a mere 100,000 copies in the US since its release in January) and lack of promotion. It’s a pity, though. The rock edge on Paper Dolls sounds like that song could be a VH1 staple, while the beautifully composed Closer ebbs and flows at exactly the right moments. Even at its bleakest, the music and melodies draw you in, and even when they follow their own lushly orchestrated circuitous path, they seem to allow you to drift away. Best tracks: Paper Dolls; I’d Do It All Again;Closer.