The Sea

The Sea

Corinne Bailey Rae sounds buoyant and spirited on her 2010 sophomore effort, where the attractive intricacies of her songwriting appear in the subtle contrasts. With lyrics musing on her late partner Jason Rae, “I’d Do It All Again” waxes mournful against breezy melodies, uplifting midtempo beats, and her honeyed voice singing about that age-old adage where it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. She has stated in interviews that “Are You Here” was almost shelved due to its personal and intimate nature. It's lucky for her fans that this gorgeous song opens the album, setting the tone with a beauty balanced in adoration and adversity—Rae’s voice breaks in all the right spots over a pocket orchestra comprising indie guitar pop, psychedelic tinged baroque pop, and neo-soul. “The Blackest Lilly” pulls from the latter with rootsy instruments, a danceable groove (replete with a cowbell), and some classic guitar licks that even make use of a Peter Frampton–style talk box.

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