Imagine a city, if you will, not entirely unlike your own. If you do not live in a city, think of a city you are familiar with. Now picture the city in a slightly altered state, a sort of half-heterocosm. I don’t mean in a futuristic, dystopian (or utopian) sort of way– but instead everything is just a little darker.
The Sea begins with an acoustic-guitar chord and the words, "He's a real live wire/ He's the best of his kind/ Wait till you see those eyes". Corinne Bailey Rae is describing her husband, who died of an accidental methadone overdose while she was writing this album, the follow-up to her successful 2006 debut. Some of the songs pre-date his death, but, with a few unexpected, blissed-out exceptions, all sound elegiac.
After selling four million copies of her debut album, an effort filled with her precious brand of neo-soul and the uplifting hit "Put Your Records On," singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae lost her husband Jason Rae suddenly and took two years off to grieve and recover before returning with her second effort, The Sea. On the album’s opener “Are You Here,” lyrics like “Wait till you see those eyes” and “He’ll kiss you make you feel sixteen” suggest she’s just fallen in love, but the fascinating idea behind The Sea is that it never explains itself, even if there’s a new richness in Rae’s soft and oh-so-tender voice that suggests something has changed deep inside. As such, the song’s “What’s it even mean?” question could be the beginning of a love affair or a tragedy, but the following “I’d Do It All Again” is even trickier, as post-argument lyrics written before her husband’s tragic loss (“You’re searching for something I know/Won’t make you happy”) take on new meaning .
Given the tragic death of Bailey Rae’s husband almost two years ago, it’s only natural to find a few sorrowful tracks on her second album, The Sea. Grief is just one of the feelings she powerfully conveys here, though. Bailey Rae also expands her range with several surprisingly hard-edged guitar and organ workouts, and returns elsewhere to the sunny neo-soul sound that helped her last disc go double platinum.
Rae stays strong on long-awaited sophomore album The path to Corinne Bailey Rae’s sophomore record was surely a difficult one. In 2008—just two years after the British artist’s promising self-titled debut—her husband of seven years, saxophonist Jason Rae (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Mark Ronson), died of an accidental drug overdose in a Leeds flat. It’s unclear whether Rae’s sophomore album is directly influenced by this tragedy, but the gorgeously arranged tracks do have a tendency toward somber introspection.
At the end of the liner notes to this engaging album, singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae writes, “This album, like everything I do, is made to try and impress Jason Bruce Rae”. Jason is, as is now well known, her husband, who died from a drug overdose in 2008 and whose death explains the delayed followup to Rae’s 2006 self-titled debut. That album was a smash in her native UK and in the States, with Grammy nods, millions sold, and four hit singles, including the sunny, inescapable “Put Your Records On”.
Until her life took an entirely unexpected and unwanted lurch into tragedy, Leeds-born singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae seemed the living embodiment of Put Your Records On, the ubiquitous single that made her a household name in 2006. Emerging at the same time as Amy Winehouse, she was the skinny latte to Winehouse's double espresso: zesty, melodic and impeccably well-mannered, her debut album soundtracked wholesome good times rather than the crashing chaos of the early hours. The death from an accidental overdose of her saxophonist husband Jason Rae in March 2008 has changed all that.
Listening to Corinne Bailey Rae’s second album, The Sea, one begins to ponder one of the most popular suspicions about art and artists: namely, that any creative endeavor worth a damn must be underpinned by its creator’s private torment. In 2008, Bailey Rae’s husband died of an accidental overdose, and unsurprisingly, her new album is colored by grief and anguish. It couldn’t be in stronger contrast to her self-titled debut, the gentle R&B of which made for a sweet, if unmemorable, summer soundtrack.
Leeds-based jazzy vocalist Corinne Bailey Rae took a break after her husband died of a methadone-alcohol OD. Her sophomore album appears roughly two years after his death, and, unsurprisingly, the tragic event has left a mark on her friendly, smooth soul. [rssbreak] Are You Here, the leadoff track, is an emotional journey through heartbreak, while the closing title track wraps up the lament on loss.
Follow-up to million-selling debut is a dramatic departure. Paul Lester 2010 With her 2006 self-titled debut album, Corinne Bailey Rae announced herself as a sort of mellifluous, less-troubled older sister of Amy Winehouse, all neat melodies and nimble rhythms over which the Leeds girl sang with a perky jazziness. You would never know from the hit singles Like a Star and Put Your Records On that she was a Led Zep’-obsessed wannabe rocker who used to front an indie band called Helen inspired by all-female grunge acts like L7 and Veruca Salt.