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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rae has released an absolute gem
Rae's sophomore release is a major departure from her sunny day, stroll in the park debut. The material on THE SEA is melancholic but overall outstandingly beautiful. All 11 tracks convey this hauntingly elegant moodiness but in 11 different ways. Here's how.

1. "Are You Here": The opening guitar chords reintroduces the listener to Rae. Rae's opening notes...
Published on February 5, 2010 by Liam F.

versus
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great album, great content, terrible production
I love this CD, from the first track all the way through. The emotion in it is so raw and hearbreaking, this is the making of great songwriting.

But having said that, I think what a lot of people are complaining about without realizing it is ultimately the PRODUCTION of the CD. I have to look up words to pretty much every single song, as opposed to her first...
Published on July 4, 2010 by R. Franklin.


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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rae has released an absolute gem, February 5, 2010
By 
Liam F. "WLF" (Melbourne, VIC Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
Rae's sophomore release is a major departure from her sunny day, stroll in the park debut. The material on THE SEA is melancholic but overall outstandingly beautiful. All 11 tracks convey this hauntingly elegant moodiness but in 11 different ways. Here's how.

1. "Are You Here": The opening guitar chords reintroduces the listener to Rae. Rae's opening notes reminds how honey-coated her vocals are. Later in the track, the songs takes an abrupt shift, changes key and a storm of electric guitars descend - skirting Radiohead territory.

2. "I'd Do It All Again": My personal favourite. If I had my way, NARAS should have this as a nominee for ROTY and SOTY. Simply exquisite, simply poetic. This is complex songwriting - the chord progressions are completely original and a level-up in instrumental arrangement on "Like A Star". When the song hits the bridge and Rae's voice soars, you're simply just carried away. Her vocal nuances are delicate and absolutely sublime.

3. "Feels Like The First Time": A catchy song that opens with some heavy piano tinkling. It's a mark of the chorus, that is the complete opposite of the song's peaceful verses. The groove is hot.

4. "The Blackest Lily": Wow - Rae brought on the britpop on this album too. I reckon there are 3 songs on this album in this vein, but all 3 are somewhat different. This, the first of the 3, is an all-out rocker. Completely unexpected and unforetold from her debut. A pleasant surprise.

5. "Closer": Check out the beats on this track. I dare you to tell me the groove is not sick. Reminiscent of The Artist Formerly Known as Prince both in vocal delivery and instrumental arrangement. Very sexy.

6. "Love's On Its Way": The opening verse wanders aimlessly a little, but sets the scene for the chorus. This song just builds and builds, and the layers of instruments gradually hit epic-scale. When it finally erupts in the 3rd minute, the swirling synths, soaring background vocals, heavy drumbeats and Rae's voice lifts it up. The words hit hard: [love's on its way/I hope it won't be too late] Poetic.

7. "I Would Like To Call It Beauty": Most unsurprising track of all, as it is closest to the material of her debut. Simple little acoustic track that never really gets too loud and is easy on the ear, which provides the listener with a breather after all that's happened with the first 6 tracks.

8. "Paris Nights/New York Mornings": The pace picks up once again. This is song 2 of 3 that is a throwback to the Britpop era of Blur and Oasis. Call it the revved up version of "Put Your Records On" if you like. Perhaps the most cheerful song of this collection.

9. "Paper Dolls": Song 3 of 3 of Britpop reference, and the heaviest one. Essentially a rock outing, and so catchy.

10. "Diving For Hearts": Laced with heavy guitar distortions and helter-skelter beats. Perhaps the oddest of the bunch and could signify what would happen if Rae ventured further into alternative music. It reminded me a little of Coldplay's tracks on PARACHUTES - that's a good thing because that's my all time favourite Coldplay album. At minute 3.50, unexpected chorals enter the scene to bring in the final climactic ending. I would most welcome Rae to explore this type of music in future.

11. "The Sea": A most fitting album closer. The words do much more than the song for me here, especially if you know what she's been through: [goodbye/paradise... ] This song has a bittersweet quality to it, in that the instrumentation and melody is one of happiness, while the words are sad. Rae exits album no.2, quietly and thoughtfully, with the following words: [The sea/the majestic sea/breaks everything/crashes everything/cleans everything/takes everything/from me].

I wanted more when it was all over. This is a testament to Rae's artistry and how she has matured as an artist. Top-notch production and engineering too.

My only reservation is did it take the tragic turn in her life to inspire such genius?

This album is pure perfection and in my opinion, one of the best albums released so far in Grammy's 2010-2011 eligibility period. Would be a complete shame and crime if Rae didn't book herself a slot in AOTY.

From one fellow music lover to others, don't miss out. Get this one.

Liam F
6 Feb 2010
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, profound, a complete work of art-- actually, four and a half stars, May 15, 2010
By 
This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
Most fans of Corinne Bailey Rae probably already know about the "background" of this CD, but for those who don't, she recorded it while in the process of grieving for her late husband, Jason Bruce Rae, who died, suddenly, of an accidental drug overdose (he had been trying to quit). However (and I believe that this fact is crucially important for understanding and appreciating "The Sea" as an album), certain songs on the disc, such as "I'd Do It All Again," were actually written by Corinne before her husband died but not recorded until afterward-- which gives them, and the entire album itself, an even greater degree of poignancy and depth.

A few reviewers have commented that her vocal performances here sound as though she "is not trying." In my view (and personal experience with this disc), one must actually sit down and seriously listen-- carefully, attentively-- to the entire work, sometimes reading along with the lyrics (and I had to do all of these things more than once), in order to really "get" why Corinne chooses to sing exactly as she does in these songs. It is a deliberate choice on her part, and understood in context, it is extremely powerful.

The first song, "Are You Here?," is a good example. Corinne's vocals sound, alternately, spacey, numb, melancholic, and blissful, as she recalls her husband, almost as if he were still with her in this life-- because in a certain sense, for her, he *is* still with her. It's a dark, wounded, haunting song, on an album that, overall, is decidedly not a "party album."

However, the pensive mood of the disc does not at all mean that it is a "bad" piece of work (in terms of quality). On the contrary, for what Corinne seemingly intended "The Sea" to be, artistically, it is a stunning success-- in my opinion, a near-masterpiece. It really is a complete work of art, with soul, intelligence, and layers of meaning, in a way that is increasingly rare to find in contemporary popular music.

The album is also *not* a total submersion into melancholy, despite what some reviewers have stated. Catch the delicate balance of emotions captured on "Closer" or "Paris Nights/New York Mornings," in which Corinne sings with joyful vim and vigor, while still retaining an undercurrent of wistfulness and longing for the past. This is quite simply amazing work, both musically and vocally. Very few contemporary artists, in any genre of popular music, are writing and performing at Corinne's level, as shown on this disc.

Her new band, showcased here, performs (as does Corinne herself) with both musical skill and raw feeling. The emphasis here is on purity and authenticity of artistic expression, rather than scrubbed-clean, antiseptic performances which will fit in nicely with the interchangeable divas of the mainstream pop hit parade. Corinne is simply on a different poetic and aesthetic wavelength than most contemporary R&B/soul singers. She always has been on a different wavelength, but this album has made that fact more obviously clear-- and we, as listeners, are the richer for it.

I have listened to "The Sea" many, many times over the last few months. The songs resonate with me in a particularly personal way, as one who has experienced the sudden, unexpected deaths of family members and friends in my own life over the years. However, even apart from my personal "identification" of sorts with Corinne's grief, as heard expressed in these songs-- just purely on the level of art itself, "The Sea" is a formidable achievement. Again, complete albums, such as this one-- true, profound, artistic statements-- do not come along very often in this age of soundbites and surfaces.

Serious lovers of music should be grateful for what Corinne has given us here. I believe that in her own way, she has achieved, with this collection of songs, something just as powerful as Marvin Gaye did with "What's Going On," or John Lennon did with "Plastic Ono Band." To Corinne, I must say that this amateur music reviewer, fellow human being, and yes, thankful fan, salutes you for persevering through grief and pain to give us such a deep, life-affirming, and (I believe time will prove) enduring work. In the liner notes for the CD booklet, Corinne states, with hard-won understanding, that "God is a mystery and a healer." "The Sea," itself, could also be a form of healing for her and a source of enrichment for her listeners. May they be many. This album deserves wide and serious recognition. Four and one-half stars out of five.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I listened to it all night long, January 29, 2010
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This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
I found it stunning, haunting, beautiful and a joy to listen to. Every time I listen to it, it gets even better. Her voice is more mature, the words are well written. It has more variety than her first CD. And did I say, I love her voice. I'm not a music critic, just someone who loves music, and this is the real thing. Get this CD, you will be happy you did!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Corrine.., February 22, 2010
By 
Santana C. Benitez "travel mama" (Qatar/Germany/Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
She has such a dreamy way about her...I couldn't stop thinking about the loss she had to endure with her husband's passing and I was especially touched by the cover, where she still wears her wedding ring.

Some highlights:

"Are You Here"- has some really crushing lyrics, she really loved that man. I thought this song would set the tone for the album, but it ended up being so wonderfully varied ;)

"I'd Do It All Again"- sounds like something from her debut album, and that's totally cool with me. This is probably my FAVORITE on the album. I love the faint male vocals at the end "someone to looooove"..unexpected and soulful.

"Paris Nights/New York Mornings"-despite it's upbeat sound, the lyrics are a bit sad to me. I imagine its her revisiting old memories that she shared with her late husband. The overly-emotional water sign in me tears up a bit at the thought...I'm such a crybaby haha.

"Closer"-sexy and groovy. This is something I'll blast while cleaning my house cooking dinner, or driving around with my windows rolled down on warm evenings.

"The Sea"- a nice ending to a lovely album. I find myself replaying this one quite a bit.

This is a reallllly chill album and I think it's beautiful that Corrine was so open to sharing her music after such a time of grief. We need more talented singer-songwriters like her. Keep your pretty little head up, Corrine!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, warm, soulful, May 3, 2010
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This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
Just gotta drop my dos centavos here amidst this muddied sea of confused reviewers. This album is the most truly soulful thing to come out of the mindless music factory in well over a decade. You might have to look back to a decade with a 7 in it to find anything comparable. So the sounds might be considered retro - might be retro. But the important sound is the voice. This is a voice that aches and yearns. This is a voice that is feeling the notes as well as the words, not just mindlessly baroquing over a stilted blues scale, not spewing a river of bold-faced obscenity that will accompany her latest scantily clad music porno. This record deserves to be cast into gold if for no other reason than it provides a brief calm amidst the swirling sewage, a coda that casts my tired mind back to days when the radio was the bringer of emotional ecstasy, not a sludge pump of corporate product designed to turn hearts to stone. No matter what the words say, the meaning is there, writ large, between the words, floating like a resonant harmonic, an electromagnetic pulse of something old but now staggeringly new. Anyone whose heart does not respond needs to report to the nearest morgue, where vocoder voiced gargoyle demons can continue to pump product beneath their grey skin - eyes wide and vacant, ears hearing only a dull monotonous hum of faux-sensuality passed off as egotistical high.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great album, great content, terrible production, July 4, 2010
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I love this CD, from the first track all the way through. The emotion in it is so raw and hearbreaking, this is the making of great songwriting.

But having said that, I think what a lot of people are complaining about without realizing it is ultimately the PRODUCTION of the CD. I have to look up words to pretty much every single song, as opposed to her first album, where I could clearly understand what she was saying. She may be singing quietly, but whoever mixed the album should've mic'ed and mixed her vocals accordingly. It sounds in a lot of the tracks like the entire high end was just removed completely, taking every silibant sound right along with it, and leaving her vocals as muddy background fodder when they should be front and center on such lovely arrangments. As a result it's a struggle to hear and understand her vocals on much of it, and that's SUCH A SHAME because of how truly great the content here is. I chose 3 stars, but that's an average really -- the songs are five stars, top notch, all the way, but this hideous, unflattering production....no so much.

Whoever produced this should be exiled from the industry; I hope she finds a different studio/producers/engineers for future endeavors.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Genius., February 22, 2010
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To me Corinne Bailey Rae is the essence of great music. Her first album put her in a position where most artists cannot even dream of being. Her first album I would say is summer, where as 'The Sea' is more the fall/winter season. But that doesn't make it any less interesting. I think it might be better. It shows her incredible talent off so well. She is such an amazing singer/songwriter with a voice like no other. Her music is so intimate and personal. She writes from experience and that is easy to tell. It makes her music very easy to relate to, also one feels very connected to her listening to her music. Rae experienced a huge tragedy in her life recently, and this album reflects that. Which I admire - she is a brilliant songwriter. But the album is not just about sadness. It's a perfect combination of all of the ups and downs life brings to each one of us. Some stand out tracks to me are 'I'd Do It All Again', 'Closer', 'Paris Nights/New York Mornings' - really you can't go wrong on any of the tracks of the album. It's a stand out album.

Corinne Bailey Rae's The sea is an album that should be in everyone's library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sea - 4.5 stars, July 17, 2010
By 
Geminigirl (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
I may be going out on a limb here but I believe that in 10 years this album will be as revered as Marvin Gaye's HERE MY DEAR. It is what contemporary music should strive to be: honest & emotional.

I was truly saddened by the death of Corinne's husband and worried (selfishly) that she'd pull a "Sade" & disappear from the music scene forever or at least for a very long time. However when I heard that she had a new album coming out, I was cautiously optimistic - I mean really after such a loss I didn't expect sunny, happy songs & anticipated sad songs expressing emotions about her loss.

I've been listening to this album on & off for months now and have gained a huge appreciation for it. It's better than her debut in a different way; this collection feels cathartic, moody & simmering - the same excellent musical arrangements & tender vocals coupled with intelligent lyrics can be found & yes there's also a little melancholy but it's a creative step forward for her music.

As we all know as music fans, a lead single can slow, kill or boost a project and although I love I'D DO IT ALL AGAIN, the video was really sad and because Corinne is one of those people who radiates "goodness" it really hurt to watch the video while listening to the track because I could feel her pain. But as I listened to the album over and over, I really couldn't pick which other track they could have released first. I suspect that a lot of people who supported her debut felt the need to pass on this project for this reason but like I said in the beginning, years will go by and more people will listen to this album and be unable to put it down.

My favorite tracks are:

CLOSER - so glad they've released it as a single, its a sexy mid-tempo track;

THE SEA - tender, sweet ballad;

THE BLACKEST LILY - frisky up-tempo 60's vibe;

PARIS NIGHTS/NEW YORK MORNINGS - another fun up-tempo track (loved the video, the dress she wears in it give me LIFE!!);

DIVING FOR HEARTS - haunting lyrics;

LOVE'S ON ITS WAY - amazing lyrics that really speak to present day world conditions & like her lyrics, I too pray "love is on its way and that it won't be too late"

I hope that people who bought it and were disappointed give it time and a few more listens while those who didn't buy it upon release, discover it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good second album by Corinne Bailey Rae, January 26, 2010
By 
This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
The music on this disc puts me in a variety of different moods. This is a strong second album by Corinne Bailey Rae. There are upbeat tracks that "Paris Nights New York Mornings" and "The Blackest Lily". These songs make me light and happy. There are some slower songs like "I'd Do It All Over Again" and "Are You There". These songs are beautiful but very sad. These songs are no doubt inspired by the death of her husband a few years ago. The guitar playing on "Are You There" is very good. "Closer" is the grooviest song on the album. This song makes me long for someone to be romantic with. I love the beat of "Paper Dolls". This song puts a spring in my step. It sounds very funky. "I'd Like To Call It Beauty" is a beautiful song. This song is very spiritual to me. I love this song. "The Sea" is another reflective song. It makes me comtemplate my purpose in life. I like this music very much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This CD Is a Keeper From Beginning to End, May 10, 2010
By 
MuzikFiend13 (Floating on a Cloud of Music) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sea (Audio CD)
I love this CD from beginning to end. I immerse myself in the sound and feel of it on a daily basis.

I have an extensive CD collection but in recent years I've found very few CDs that I need to purchase. I've been downloading individual songs rather than entire CDs because most artists seem to have just one or two good tracks on them.

I loved Corinne's first CD, but I simply adore this new one. I play it continuously - no need to skip any tracks. My favorite song is "I Would Like to Call It Beauty."

To the naysayers: listen and listen again - it just gets better and better.
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The Sea
The Sea by Corinne Bailey Rae (Audio CD - 2010)
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