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BLACK RAINBOWS

BLACK RAINBOWS

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With ferocious energy and clear-eyed confidence, it’s as though Rae is introducing herself all over again. Next, a smart sequencing of mostly great songs, including the astonishing He Will Follow You With His Eyes, a coquettish, jazzy number that transmutes into something wild and magical as she blankly intones lines such as “my black hair kinking, my black skin gleaming” while the song disintegrates around her.

Shout-singing about her young heroine amid peppy hand-claps, Rae sounds like a cheerleader for the types of girls who need one: “Beauty is in her possession,” she sings, “and she rides, rides, rides. There, she encountered a striking 1954 snapshot of Audrey Smaltz, then a 17-year-old pageant winner posing with a grin on the back of a fire truck.Black Rainbows received a score of 91 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on seven critics' reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Record Collector 's John Earls wrote that Black Rainbows "magnificently roars around garage rock, jazz and even, on Erasure, Black Flag hardcore", concluding that "although Bailey Rae is hardly prolific – this is just her fourth album – she's worth the wait". Though Rae had outfitted her previous record, 2016’s The Heart Speaks in Whispers, with some synthy touches, those songs still felt oriented around radio-friendly structures. She purrs about the perils of beauty standards on “He Will Follow You With His Eyes” before she drops the dreamy façade and celebrates her Black skin, her favorite lipstick, and her kinky hair over an electronic morass. Rae has spoken about a personal metamorphosis inspired by a 2017 visit to the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, a sprawling archive of Black life piloted by multi-disciplinary artist Theaster Gates.

The first two songs are a sluggish entry point to the Bailey Rae renaissance, before the album explodes with post-punky Erasure, its transgressive fury a pure catharsis mediated through her distorted voice.Allison Hussey of Pitchfork felt that "it sounds like a departure but feels like a renaissance", and the "softer turns on Black Rainbows feel nearest to Rae's earlier material, but those, too, subvert expectations". The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. In parallel with the themes of deliverance that Rae presents throughout the album, “Peach Velvet Sky” honors a life spent working toward freedom around challenges that never seem to sleep.

They tried to eviscerate you/Hide behind the curtain/Make you forget your name,” she howls, wrapping imagery of censored photographs in barbed-wire guitar lines and a pummeling rhythm. The young ensemble garnered attention from the alt-rock heavy hitter Roadrunner Records but the deal fell through, an industry heartbreak that nonetheless kept Rae pursuing music. The softer turns on Black Rainbows feel nearest to Rae’s earlier material, but those, too, subvert expectations. Anyone in the vicinity of a radio around 2006 heard “ Put Your Records On,” Corinne Bailey Rae’s warm ode to feeling relaxed and fulfilled in the moment.

Rae co-produced Black Rainbows with her husband, Steve Brown, and she seems more comfortable with letting her experimental inclinations lead the way. The photo sparked Rae’s imagination for “New York Transit Queen,” which hurtles forward with blistering momentum.

Bailey Rae originally planned Black Rainbows as a side project, a freewheeling meditation on the history of Black experience she discovered at the Stony Island Arts Bank archive in Chicago. It tumbles into a club-adjacent beat, with Rae singing as though she were shouting over the din of the dancefloor. The stunning “Peach Velvet Sky,” meanwhile, is a sparkling and bittersweet ballad inspired by Harriet Jacobs, author of the 1861 book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Less than two minutes long, it feels like the project’s thematic banner even more than the electro-collage title track. Later, Rae splits the difference between Eartha Kitt and Kate Bush in the smoky closing track “Before the Throne of the Invisible God,” with chimes ringing among soft woodwind curlicues.The song is Rae’s imagining of Jacobs hiding in an attic near the plantation from which she’d escaped, where she could watch her still-enslaved children in secret from a hole in the wall of her hiding place. MusicOMH 's John Murphy found it to be "a huge change in direction for Corinne Bailey Rae, a big, sprawling album that bounces between genres and flies off in directions you'd never expect".



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