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Album Review

Corinne Bailey Rae, 'The Sea'

January 25, 2010

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Corinne Bailey Rae’s second record opens with the elegiac “Are You Here,’’ a song for her late husband, who died of an accidental overdose, and a darker mood pervades the entire record. This is certainly not the same artist who burst on the scene with her slight, soulful pop in 2006. The eleven songs on “The Sea’’ are richer, much less accessible, and marked by a sense of loss and introspection. Bailey Rae moves closer to capturing the vividness of her live shows as she allows her bluesier and rock sides to emerge with hints of jazz in her vocal phrasings. Only a few tracks - the sly “Closer’’ and the neatly arranged “Paris Nights/ New York Mornings’’ - seem to have commercial potential. “Diving for Hearts,’’ a blues lament, has a deeper bottom and bolder guitar sound than anything she’s done, while the aching “I’d Do It All Again’’ evokes Sade. And “I Would Like to Call It Beauty’’ is so fragile it’s the aural equivalent of Laura Wingfield’s glass animals. This will be a tough sell in a time of Ke$has and Gagas, but it’s a deeply personal record by a performer growing and finding her voice. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO

Pop
Corinne Bailey Rae The Sea
Capitol
ESSENTIAL “Diving for Hearts’’