Corinne Bailey Rae
[Three and a half stars]
With a 2006 debut that showed off her fluttery, Billie Holiday-inflected wine-bar soul, Corinne Bailey Rae gave a boost to the UK export industry in women singer-songwriters, earning Grammy nods and an A-list career. Then her husband died of an overdose. Her latest is both reckoning and rebirth. “So young for death,” she sings, smearing her girlish coo into gray-scale abstractions and deep emotions. Fragile arrangements ”“ guitar, auto-harp, orchestra ”“ suggest -indie rock (”˜Are You Here’) as much as R&B (the Isley Brothers-ish ”˜Closer’). Rae also celebrates love and, on ”˜The Blackest Lily,’ even rocks a funky vocoder, confronting death with the greatest weapon: life, fully lived.
Key Tracks: ”˜Are You Here,’ ”˜Love’s on Its Way’