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Corinne Bailey Rae "Corinne Bailey Rae" Album Review

Updated on May 18, 2009

"Corinne Bailey Rae"

Part One


Of course there was the voice.

But, there was something else, too.

Watching Corinne Bailey Rae perform the first song, “Like a Star,” from her self-titled debut album on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, was like watching a warm, spring rain fall. It made you want to be engulfed in it, letting it wash your troubles away.

Her voice was melodic and straight from the heart, with just a slight trace of a British accent. But as Rae sang on the popular late-night TV show, she did so with a beautiful smile on her face the whole time, like she was completely thrilled to be in possession of such a captivating thing – her voice.

She practically oozed charm and sincerity that night and those two remarkable qualities are all over Corinne Bailey Rae, her first major album, issued in 2006.

It’s no shock to find such a soulful singer on the scene these days, as it seems like the neo-soul movement is growing by leaps and bounds every second, with new talents popping up like dandelions after that afore-mentioned spring rain.

But when you look at the path Rae traveled to get here, it makes you pause for a second.

Especially when considering Rae’s major musical influence as a teenager growing up in Leeds, England.

Led Zeppelin.

That’s right, Led Zeppelin, one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. But as a youngster, Rae was completely under the group’s spell and all its bombastic glories.

This led to a stint fronting an all-girl female band called Helen. Helen made a splash on the indie rock scene before the unit ultimately split up.

A gig as a hat check girl in a jazz club while she was attending college proved to be Rae’s breakthrough, as she discovered the jazz and soul music she heard on a nightly basis had as much pull and power to it as bands like Zeppelin and L7 do.

However, Rae didn’t completely abandon her indie-rock roots on her debut.

In true do-it-yourself fashion, she not only wrote or co-wrote every tune, but she also played guitar, keyboards, bass and percussion on Corinne Bailey Rae.

"Like A Star"

Part Two


That use of instruments helps to give the disc an earthy kind of feel.

It’s not a widely diverse album – many of the songs are kept in a mid-tempo kind of groove – but it is ideal for a late night of unwinding, or a great way to start off a stay-at-home Sunday morning.

Rae is not as jazzy, as say, Norah Jones, although they are plenty of jazzy elements to satisfy on Corinne Bailey Rae. At times her voice brings to mind a hint of Rickie Lee Jones.

A wide range of human emotions are touched upon on Corinne Bailey Rae, including breakups on “Till it Happens to You.” That cut is a great example of how well blues works when delivered by a sophisticated, sultry voice like Rae’s.

One of the tunes that finds its space outside the mid-tempo setting is “Put Your Records on.” The radio-friendly cut is a spunky, feel good, get-up-and-testify kind of number. Just right for a drive with the windows rolled down.

One of the strongest cuts on Corinne Bailey Rae is the outstanding “Enchantment.”

It evokes feelings of a beautiful spring afternoon when all is right with the world. A very uplifting, dreamy song that features a jazzed-up bridge. Plush keyboards and a scratchy backbeat round out the atmosphere that “Enchantment” creates.

“Trouble Sleeping” is an expressive love song that finds Rae so much in love with someone that she can’t sleep.

Rae slows things down on the album-closer “Seasons Change.” It deals with the disappointments that we are sometimes dealt and tells of the pain we must overcome to press on.

Corinne Bailey Rae is certainly the document of a young lady poised to be a major force on the music scene.

Whether that scene will continue to be on the soul side of things, or whether Rae moves closer to her hard-rocking roots remains to be seen.

Maybe we might be in for a taste of what Led Zeppelin had sounded like had Billie Holiday fronted the group instead of Robert Plant.

That might be a real treat.

Corinne For Sale


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i just love corinne's styl...impeccable voice with great mix of instruments


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