Corrine Bailey Rae
This British singer's eponymous debut has created quite a buzz in her homeland, becoming only the fourth release by a female to ever debut at the top. Now, the 27-year-old Rae brings her sweet and rich voice to America, anxious to show that her relatively recent embrace of classic soul isn't just another passing fancy. While in her teens and inspired by an early love of Led Zeppelin, Rae formed Helen, an all-female indie-metal act that drew equal parts kudos and condemnation. Older and wiser, her maturity on songs such as "Put Your Records On" and "Call Me When You Get This" is evident and alluring. Putting to good use her fruitful experience with funk/hip-hop limeys New Mastersounds and Craig David, Rae's writing exposes emotional complexities and fearless introspection. "Could it be that I'm suffering 'cause I never give in?" Rae asks in "Trouble Sleeping," when, in fact, it's that gritty stubbornness that makes her music so vital and subversively smooth.
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