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01 December 2023

Bailey Rae sings of soulful journey


By Polly Weeks

It's been a long-time coming and now Corinne Bailey Rae releases the follow up to her debut album. How will it compare? Elsewhere, indie darlings Los Campesinos! and rap-master Lil Wayne return. Read on to see whether they're worth investing in.

The Sea by Corinne Bailey Rae: It is four years since Corinne Bailey Rae's eponymous debut album of happy jazz tunes was released, loaded with carefree hits Like A Star and the summertime anthem Put Your Records On. In the intervening years, the Grammy-nominated 30-year-old has been to the dizzy heights of stardom, and the depths of despair when she lost her musician husband Jason to an accidental drugs overdose in 2008. Her second album The Sea clearly reflects her emotional journey. Lead single I'd Do It All Again was written two months before Jason died, after the pair had a fight. It's a heartbreakingly soulful track, a mature departure from her earlier music, and aptly sums up the entire minor key-driven album. Are You Here combines the lightness of a simple guitar riff, with Bailey Rae's soaring, yearning vocals, while Paris Nights/New York Mornings is even more upbeat. The record has been therapeutic for her and, while many lyrics touch on pain and death, it has a hopeful feel, with the elegant muse on spirituality I Would Like To Call It Beauty at the heart of it.

Romance is Boring by Los Campesinos!: Fans of the raucous and energetic sound of Los Campesinos! will not be disappointed by their latest offering, which is, thankfully, not too drastic a departure for this indie seven-piece from Cardiff. On their second official album (they refused to give that label to their previous release We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) singer Gareth offers plenty of biting, in-your-face lyrics ("I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock" starts Straight In At 101 as it means to go on), delivered in fierce vocals that sound like he means them. The punchy title track will have you singing along at first listen, while the sublime The Sea Is A Good Place To Listen To The Future proves the band can pack an emotional punch. Anything but boring.

Re-birth by Lil Wayne: His last album Tha Carter III won eight Grammy Award nominations, and now the Louisiana rapper takes a change of direction with a rock-rap album – and it's an exciting listen. It would be easy for this release to be cheesy but it seems Wayne has done his homework and it's a success. While many of the tunes feature other artists, it's when he's left to his own devices that Lil Wayne shines. Such as the tunes Paradice and Ground Zero – the vocal effects may be over the top but the tunes are well produced and highlight Lil Wayne's multi-genre ability. The rap superstar mixes things up again with Nicki Minaj on pop tune Knockout which sounds like it should be the theme tune to a teen flick.

- All albums are out now from Dh65


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