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Corinne Bailey Rae|Black Rainbows

Black Rainbows

Corinne Bailey Rae

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Corinne Bailey Rae's fourth album draws deep inspiration from the archives of Stony Island Arts Bank, a gallery and community center on Chicago's South Side that houses art and artifacts regarding the Black experience in America—everything from the vinyl collection of legendary house music DJ Frankie Knuckles to "negrobilia" used to perpetuate offensive stereotypes. Among the objects she gravitated toward was the writing of Harriet Jacobs, whose 1861 autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, recalled a harrowing existence: Born into slavery in North Carolina, she escaped her owner's sexual abuse by pretending to run away and instead hiding for seven years in a crawl space in her free grandmother's house that was so small she couldn't stand up but which allowed her to occasionally watch her children and sew by the light from a tiny borehole. "I stitchеd myself into your heart/ I thread my needlе by sister North Star/ And I missed your quiet hands/ Their tiny weight," Bailey Rae sings on the lush, gorgeous "Peach Velvet Sky." She's accompanied only by piano, alternating between twinkling hope and the ominous allusion of heavy left-hand notes. 

"New York Transit Queen" is a thrilling surprise—the title chanted over handclaps before punk frenzy hits like a 5 train barreling into the station at full speed. It's a story of beauty and fierceness and triumph, gleaned from a photo of 1950s Miss New York Transit pageant winner Audrey Smaltz, who grew up to be a contributing editor at Vogue and manage fashion shows for big-name designers. "Erasure," meanwhile, is an aggressive garage-rock nugget, a fuzzed out Bailey Rae hollering, "They Typex'ed all the Black kids out of the picture/ So when they pictured that scene, they wouldn't be seen/ Baby girl in the front row, with the cornrows/ Smiling at the band/ They made a cartoon of you." It's about as far as you can imagine from the easy-listening charm of "Put Your Records On," and it's invigorating. She plays with psychedelic soul on sensual "Earthlines," which channels something adventurous but also a little dangerous, robotically promising over wild bloops and bleeps, "Don't you know, Earthlings/ You can start again." On "A Spell, A Prayer," Bailey Rae's caramel voice travels from a soft, soothing coo to a sort of banshee wail, the song's initial plainspoke rhythm matching her on its quest to a wilder place of jazz skronk and rock noise. Cantering "Red Horse" is Big Sky-expansive, and "He Will Follow You With His Eyes" summons an island breeze as Bailey Rae sings of "the promise of the potion that I buy … My black hair kinking/ My black skin gleaming." And the title track is joyous, glimmering and energetic with sax blare, like some soul sunbeam. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Black Rainbows

Corinne Bailey Rae

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1
A Spell, A Prayer
00:05:26

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

2
Black Rainbows
00:01:57

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - James Knight, Engineer - Myke Wilson, Composer - S.J.Brown, Composer, Producer, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

3
Erasure
00:02:46

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

4
Earthlings
00:03:38

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer - S.J. Brown, Composer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

5
Red Horse
00:05:42

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Paris Strother, Composer, Producer, Engineer - Amber Strother, Composer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer - S.J. Brown, Composer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

6
New York Transit Queen
00:01:49

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

7
He Will Follow You With His Eyes
00:03:45

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Paris Strother, Engineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

8
Put It Down
00:08:29

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer - S.J. Brown, Composer - Todd A Carter, Engineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

9
Peach Velvet Sky
00:05:50

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - Ian Gold, MixingEngineer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer - S.J. Brown, Composer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

10
Before The Throne Of The Invisible God
00:05:12

Corinne Bailey Rae, Composer, MainArtist - Matt Colton, MasteringEngineer - Andy Bauer, Engineer - Corrine Bailey Rae, Producer - Aaron Burnett, Engineer - S.J.Brown, Producer, Engineer, MixingEngineer

(C) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2023 Black Rainbows Music marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

Album review

Corinne Bailey Rae's fourth album draws deep inspiration from the archives of Stony Island Arts Bank, a gallery and community center on Chicago's South Side that houses art and artifacts regarding the Black experience in America—everything from the vinyl collection of legendary house music DJ Frankie Knuckles to "negrobilia" used to perpetuate offensive stereotypes. Among the objects she gravitated toward was the writing of Harriet Jacobs, whose 1861 autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, recalled a harrowing existence: Born into slavery in North Carolina, she escaped her owner's sexual abuse by pretending to run away and instead hiding for seven years in a crawl space in her free grandmother's house that was so small she couldn't stand up but which allowed her to occasionally watch her children and sew by the light from a tiny borehole. "I stitchеd myself into your heart/ I thread my needlе by sister North Star/ And I missed your quiet hands/ Their tiny weight," Bailey Rae sings on the lush, gorgeous "Peach Velvet Sky." She's accompanied only by piano, alternating between twinkling hope and the ominous allusion of heavy left-hand notes. 

"New York Transit Queen" is a thrilling surprise—the title chanted over handclaps before punk frenzy hits like a 5 train barreling into the station at full speed. It's a story of beauty and fierceness and triumph, gleaned from a photo of 1950s Miss New York Transit pageant winner Audrey Smaltz, who grew up to be a contributing editor at Vogue and manage fashion shows for big-name designers. "Erasure," meanwhile, is an aggressive garage-rock nugget, a fuzzed out Bailey Rae hollering, "They Typex'ed all the Black kids out of the picture/ So when they pictured that scene, they wouldn't be seen/ Baby girl in the front row, with the cornrows/ Smiling at the band/ They made a cartoon of you." It's about as far as you can imagine from the easy-listening charm of "Put Your Records On," and it's invigorating. She plays with psychedelic soul on sensual "Earthlines," which channels something adventurous but also a little dangerous, robotically promising over wild bloops and bleeps, "Don't you know, Earthlings/ You can start again." On "A Spell, A Prayer," Bailey Rae's caramel voice travels from a soft, soothing coo to a sort of banshee wail, the song's initial plainspoke rhythm matching her on its quest to a wilder place of jazz skronk and rock noise. Cantering "Red Horse" is Big Sky-expansive, and "He Will Follow You With His Eyes" summons an island breeze as Bailey Rae sings of "the promise of the potion that I buy … My black hair kinking/ My black skin gleaming." And the title track is joyous, glimmering and energetic with sax blare, like some soul sunbeam. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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