Sweet Treat (Corinne Bailey Rae, The Heart Speaks in Whispers, review)

Have you ever had a favourite food you loved so much that you were convinced you could eat it over and over again without any consequence to your stomach or feelings toward it? Ice cream was the food that did me in. I loved ice cream so much that I would eat it whenever I could, and one day I decided that I couldn’t stomach it all the time. Today’s album review feels a bit like that.




Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks In Whispers
released May 13, 2016
********* 7/10


Corinne Bailey Rae is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. She is the fourth British female artist in history to have a debut album open at no.1 in 2006. Her second album, The Sea, was released almost four years later after a personal tragedy occurred in 2008. Her husband and frequent collaborator Jason Rae died of what has been identified as an overdose. The Sea was nominated for a Mercury Prize for Album of the Year, given it’s somber tone and emotional weight.

It wasn’t until 2012 that Corinne followed The Sea up with The Love EP, and a year later that she married her producer and friend Steve Brown.

The Heart Speaks in Whispers helps us close the gap between that period of heartbreak, newfound love and the cautious optimism of Bailey Rae in her current life.

There is no doubt in my mind that Bailey Rae has a great vocal range and broad versatility to her music & lyrics. It reminds me of a great many female artists whom I have enjoyed previously, like Billy Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Feist, Joni Mitchell, and Emily Haines.

Now I say this with some reservation, but at first I didn’t really care for Bailey Rae as an authentic act.

Her work kind of fits into the larger genre of jazz and soul, and especially the soul revival that is happening, and which I admittedly have been kind of oblivious to until very recently. I will also mention Kendrick Lamar and Leon Bridges as artists who have been part of this movement, also with hesitation, because I hate to compare artists, but in this case, Bailey Rae has been collaborating with Lamar and that is a great indicator of her input into the landscape.

The songs on the album are often rather upbeat and fun – Been To The Moon, Horse Print Dress, and … come to mind. Stop Where You Are has that indie pop sentiment that reminded me of Feist. And if you are looking for anthems to build you up after any manner of letdown Caramel and High will serve that role rather easily. It’s a great ebb and flow of real life experiences without ever telling you explicitly what she gone through.

Push On For The Dawn closes out the album rather beautifully and isn’t ambiguous with Bailey Rae’s future. After all is said and done, The Heart Speaks In Whispers does an excellent job of changing your mind about the commercial production of the entire album, but its not something you can play anywhere and for all occasions.




I think pop music and jazz music are a wonderful form of expression, and that you should listen to them with regularity, but you can definitely over-expose yourself to forms of it. Especially when the music is rich and full of addictive content. The Heart Speaks in Whispers is a great example of this. When consumed in appropriate settings, you will have an awesome time, just don’t over indulge it.



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