First Listen: Corinne Bailey Rae, 'The Sea'

fromWFUV

Audio for this feature is no longer available. The album was released on Jan. 26, 2010.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Four years ago, glamorous neo-soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae broke through from the U.K. to the U.S. charts with "Put Your Records On," and suddenly she was everywhere. Success offers no guarantees, though, and the next time she was in the news, it was because of her musician husband Jason Rae's accidental death.

Two years of mourning later, Corinne Bailey Rae has released a new album called The Sea — available for streaming in its entirety here until its release on Jan. 26. You might expect the new songs to be sad, but they're not; they just run a little deeper than the ones on her debut. The opening track, "Are You Here," includes a tribute to Jason Rae: "He's a real live wire, he's the best of his kind; he'll kiss you and make you feel 16." It's a solid opening track, and it serves to liberate her for the rest of The Sea, which plays like an honest singer-songwriter record, full of hooks and soulful production.

Rae wrote all the songs and reunited with the same production team that so successfully crafted her debut. Most of what you'll hear is fully fleshed-out music, with big string arrangements that bring to mind an Al Green record. "Closer" recalls Earth, Wind & Fire with its opening riff, while the bouncy "Paris Nights, New York Mornings" is a standout.

Please leave your thoughts on The Sea in the comments section below.

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