Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae / self-titled

Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae


First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2006, Volume 13, #8

Written by John Metzger


There once was a significant buzz surrounding Corinne Bailey Rae, but since the release of her self-titled debut, the hype has subsided to the point where it’s now little more than a barely audible whisper. The reason is simple: By dubbing her the "new Billie Holiday," expectations for the outing were set unreasonably high. For certain, there is a lot of promise lurking within the collection. After all, Rae writes her own material; she provides her own bass, piano, guitar, and percussion accompaniments; she dots her sonic landscapes with hints of jazz and blues; she’s a talented, emotive vocalist who draws connections among Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Philly soul, Sade, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Jill Scott; and on occasion, she forsakes the sterility of programmed grooves in favor of the organic sound of a real drummer. Consequently, as Corinne Bailey Rae progresses, its contemporarily derived atmospherics slowly begin to slip into the background, thereby allowing an array of classic soul-pop textures to surface. Nevertheless, the veritable army of writers and producers that was brought on board to push the effort towards its completion inevitably left the songs feeling as if the life had been sucked out of them. Not only are their lyrics mired in cliché, but also the bulk of their arrangements are inordinately bland. Though the middle of Rae’s eponymous album boasts a few sparking moments — the delightfully sunny Put Your Records On, the airy Choux Pastry Heart, and the dreamy, horn-splattered Trouble Sleeping, among them — too much of the affair has been polished into easy-listening background music that is suited more to the style-conscious, Starbucks crowd than it is to anyone seeking actual substance. Corinne Bailey Rae deserves better. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain

John Mayer - Heavier Things

Daniel Powter - Daniel Powter / self-titled


Corinne Bailey Rae is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box