Album Review: Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks In Whispers
Photo courtesy of Wikemedia Commons.

Album Review: Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks In Whispers

Corinne Bailey Rae recently released her third studio album, “The Heart Speaks in Whispers,” in 2016.

Bailey Rae is a British R&B artist originally from Leeds, England. Her debut into the music world was over a decade ago with her self-titled album in 2006, which earned her a Grammy nomination at the beginning of her career.

Between each of her album recordings Bailey Rae has taken multiple hiatuses.

Her husband died in 2008 between her first two album recordings and then she took another break until releasing the lead single “Been To The Moon” off her most recent album in February 2016 in preparation for an album drop in May.

The first track of the album opens with Bailey Rae whispering the album title, “the heart speaks in whispers” before the first verse begins.

The song begins with a piano instrumental and adds multiple layers of musical texture between her vocal harmonies, backup singers, a layer of guitar, electronic xylophone sounds, drums, all while stripping back down to just her voice and the piano or guitar.

This track gives a great feel for the overall album. It includes many of the songs listed in “The Heart Speaks In Whispers” and are very textured with various layers of music.

Following the up-tempo opener, “Hey, I Won’t Break Your Heart,” slows down as her first ballad of the album. This love song is a soft sonnet from Bailey Rae’s heart.

The third track, “Been To The Moon,” is the lead single that was released four months before the rest of the album. This song has a faster paced rhythm with a mix of vocal harmonies and brass instruments which finish the song, giving it a jazz feel.

“Tell Me,” is a very pop infused piece which differs from her softer, stripped down soul sound. There are quite a few electronic elements added over her vocals in this song.

The fifth song of the album, “Stop Where You Are,” is the anthem track of “The Heart Speaks In Whispers.” This song’s beautiful lyrics speaks to listeners and breaks through the rest of the album.

The chorus features a group of singers joining Bailey Rae as they chant together to “light a fire where you are.” This power ballad gives listeners an empowered feeling of contentment with where they are in their life, telling them wake up and appreciate the world around them.

Next, R&B themed, “Green Aphrodisiac,” features Bailey Rae’s strong vocals as she riffs over the top of a choir of singers.

Following the previous slower track, “Horse Print Dress,” has a distinct R&B feel to it but takes a faster tempo. This is a fun easy listening song that showcases Bailey Rae’s vocal range as she hits numerous high notes in full voice.

The next few songs follow a slower pace to relax the album.

“Do You Ever Think Of Me?,” and “Caramel,” are lush poems stripped down and set to a guitar for most of the duration of the song. They both represent the singer and songwriter roots that Bailey Rae started with musically.

“Taken By Dreams,” features electronic instruments to mix with her soft vocals, while “Walk On” has more of a powerful sound because lyrics are repeated, adding a bit more volume and emphasis each time she repeats them.

These songs are perfectly placed for listener’s mid album, guiding them through Bailey Rae’s playlist towards the quiet lullabies at the end.

Both “Night” and “In The Dark” are purely vocals with back up guitar and very few other instrumental embellishments.

Besides singing, Bailey Rae plays guitar and was classically trained to play violin at a young age. She began singing in her church choir shortly after learning violin and that is when she made that the focus of her music.

“In The Dark” tells a very personal story from the singer. Her simply written guitar line accents the sincerity in her voice as she details love and loss is this emotional song.

Unexpectedly, “Ice Cream Colours,” changes the vibe from the past set of songs. This track has a very fast tempo and lot of action for listeners to take in.

Finishing off the album, Bailey Rae ends with some very poignant and inspirational lyrics on the two remaining songs.

“High,” the second to last track, is a piano ballad in which Bailey Rae details some of her grief when she lost her first husband, Jason Rae, to a drug overdose. The songstress opens up about her personal life, love and loss in a very vulnerable way.

The last song, “Push On For The Dawn,” is similar to the previous track due to the  heavy but hopeful vibe. The title of the track lends to the message behind the lyrics that there is a way for people to keep going and push forward.

Though there is a somber mood in her lyrics, there is also positivity. Both “High” and “Push On For The Dawn” capture this essence while also depicting joy and love which are reflected from her marriage to Steve Brown in 2013.

Bailey Rae is very honest in her writing of “The Heart Speaks In Whispers,” and it’s very refreshing to hear an artist be so honest and transparent about things that everyone struggle with.

She ends with one succinct thought, “keep pushing on.”

 

Anyon Rettinger
Online Editor
arett489@uwsp.edu

About Anyon Rettinger

Anyon Rettinger
I am a Junior at UW-Stevens Point studying Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. I'm the Online Editor of The Pointer. I write album reviews, listen to a lot of music, have a new found obsession with tea, and I like taking angsty pictures for my Instagram. I travel when I can and like to think I am a good photographer. Most times if you hear noise, its me singing down the hall. I'm an aspiring singer and artist. I am also a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America at UWSP as the Visual Promotions Chair. Follow my social media platforms to learn more about me and my work.

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