It’s been almost exactly one year since Corinne Bailey Rae released her second studio album, The Sea, a bold collection of songs that has given her a deeper dimension and new born complexity. Rae’s involvement in the entire process, writing all songs and co-producing the entire record, displayed her unwillingness to compromise the music and ability to remain loyal to her creative self throughout. Traveling the world extensively in support of The Sea has supplied Rae with much time for experimentation and personal reflection on songs that have been of meaning, and conveniently, that has shaped her latest set of recordings, a covers album titled The Love EP.
One of the most interesting aspects of The Love EP is the variety in style of song that makes up the record, while all harboring a common theme. The album opens with a delicate reggae piano riff and Corinne’s soothing voice on Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” “We’ll share the shelter of my single bed,” are lyrics that especially stand out as she caresses the song and re-orchestrates the feeling of the piece with a slowed down arrangement. Quickly changing tempo, Rae follows with a rendition of Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” a heavy synthesized track that emphasizes her passionate voice and vocal range.
Inspired by a performance that Rae saw at an event honoring Paul McCartney at the White House, a concert in which she sang “Blackbird” alongside Herbie Hancock, she decided to include McCartney’s song “My Love,” upon being especially drawn to the lyrics “My love does it good.” Her take on Belly’s “Low Red Moon” is the heaviest song on the album and places her voice in a unique setting surrounded by spacey distortion in the chorus. If you listen closely you can hear subtle whispering in the background complementing the verses. Rae has spoken about her love for early 1990’s rock and this track most definitely channels what would seem to have formulated in her early years.
The final element that is captured on The Love EP is a live performance of “Que Sera,” an encore taken from a show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. from last year. Coming full circle, this recording closed out what ended up being the capstone to most of her shows from this tour and it instilled the chemistry between the artist and the audience on this album. A compilation of influences and experiences is what you will find on The Love EP. The five song recording displays some elements that have yet to be brought out on Rae’s first two albums, and fans alike can hope for more fantastic music as she moves into the next chapter of her career.