Corinne Bailey Rae’s 2010 “The Sea” was one of the best pop albums of the last decade, a brooding, beautiful examination of loss and grief. Six years later she returns healed, exuding hope and whimsy on her often wondrous new record. Since her early hard-rock days, Bailey Rae has always been a restless explorer, and now she effortlessly traverses jazz, soul, and pop psychedelia. Ignoring mainstream trends or easy hooks, she opens up her sound with co-producer and husband Steve Brown. The songs are languorous and expansive, featuring some of her most playfully relaxed singing. She stretches notes and lingers lovingly, lost in the moment on “Do You Ever Think of Me?” The Strother sisters of LA velvet-vibe R&B trio KING are integral collaborators on six songs, including the wonderful stoned soul of “Green Aphrodisiac.” Bailey Rae has created such refreshingly spirited, open-hearted music here that when she sings, “I’ve been to the moon,” you believe her.
ESSENTIAL “Do You Ever Think of Me?”Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.