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BLACK RAINBOWS

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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". 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. Pitchfork may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. 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.

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. Although just 45 minutes long, its audacious mix of rock, electronica, jazz and Afrofuturism forms an epic soundtrack narrating journeys to freedom.With ferocious energy and clear-eyed confidence, it’s as though Rae is introducing herself all over again. For the first time in her solo catalog, Black Rainbows strikes directly at those formative tastes; Rae indulges the affections of her younger self without succumbing to cheap pastiche.

Black Rainbows received a score of 91 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on seven critics' reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Rae immersed herself further in Stony Island’s collection of “Negrobilia,” absorbing the harrowing narratives of abuse and indignity that she contemplates in “Erasure.

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.

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. It’s loud, intense, and raw, a memorial to the unhealed historical wrongs that sit in the background of daily life.Earthlings” chugs on a mechanical synth as Rae invites us to a new utopia, and warm ripples of jazz guitar ebb into the mix like distant radio waves.

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