Sunday, January 23, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: CORINNE BAILEY RAE - THE LOVE E.P.
I like the concept here, a 5-track disc that presents a selection of love songs, from overtly sexual to familial to devotional. In these days of downloads and the blurred definitions of what albums and singles have become, why not put out shorter, thematic discs. You have an idea for something only five tracks long? Get it out there, why not?
In this case, Bailey Rae has chosen to do five cover versions of wildly different styles and concepts of love. It starts with the funky, early Prince track, I Wanna Be Your Lover, a bit of a clunker really, marred by a cheesy synth line, way too wimpy a tone for doin' the nasty. Things pick up next with an old Belly/Tanya Donelly cut, Low Red Moon, surprising for this singer, a rock-out much stronger than anything else in her catalogue. This disc is getting interesting.
The next track is the best, and bravest. Bailey Rae turns a well-known Bob Marley track on its head, with her version of Is This Love. We all know it, but you've probably never thought of it as a mature love song, since Marley's spirituality usually overwhelms all his songs. But she dumps the reggae groove (sacrilege!) and makes it sexy.
A straight-up cover of McCartney's My Love is a good one, a good choice for her fine pipes. The disc is rounded out by a really fine live number, the chestnut Que Sera Sera, done Aretha style, again a showcase for her vocals. Corinne Bailey Rae's own writing has been okay so far, but this set shows she's a performer and interpreter of high quality.