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Corinne Bailey Rae “The Heart Speaks In Whispers” Named One of NPR Music’s 30 Favorite Albums of 2016

June 30, 2016

A songwriter’s songwriter with a trembling, tearful larynx, Corinne Bailey Rae gifted us in 2010 with The Sea, a heartrending sophomore turn in the aftermath of the untimely death of her husband Jason, but followed it with meandering misstep The Love EP. The Heart Speaks in Whispers — her third album and first full-length studio effort in six years — soars ebulliently on recharged emotionalism and the surging promise of “up jumped spring” new love. What a wisely-curated group of collaborators, including the likes of Moses Sumney, Esperanza Spalding and R&B trio KING: They show up to magically lift tunes like the four-on-the-floor “The Skies Will Break,” sunkissed “Hey, I Won’t Break Your Heart,” retro/electro-drifty “Been to the Moon” and Quiet-Storm intoxicating “Green Aphrodiasic.” Black women sporting guitars and writing their own tunes, from Rosetta Tharpe to Joan Armatrading to Lianne La Havas, have always received the shortest end of the stick: Bailey Rae almost surely might be playing larger venues if she was white and/or a man making music this mellifluous, drifty-sensual and artistically confident. But just as the heart speaks in whispers, sometimes music’s best-kept secrets deliver when they operate under the radar, too. —Jason King




“boundary-defying, epic music” NPR

“a fascinating listen….her light permeates this record, leaving a shining example of strength and perseverance” PITCHFORK

“Your voice still sounds so refreshingly out of this world” VULTURE

“Corinne Bailey Rae Returns To Remind Us Of The Magic In Our Silence” THE FADER

“her most eclectic-sounding album to date” ABC NEWS

“as soon as I heard ‘Green Aphrodisiac,’ I knew she was back and better than ever” O, OPRAH MAGAZINE

“it’s fearless…an essential modern day soul album” POPMATTERS

“radiant self-assurance along with a touch of bliss” THE NEW YORK TIMES

“fresh, ethereal melody… its positive vibes and imagery of new life” ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“nods to D’Angelo and good-period Prince…evokes Isaac Hayes” Q

“wondrous new record… such refreshingly spirited, open-hearted music” BOSTON GLOBE

“a brilliant and very welcome return” **** MOJO

“She’s still got the velvet touch” BROOKLYN VEGAN