British singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae quickly rose to fame with her eponymous debut album in 2006 thanks to hits “Like A Star” and “Put Your Records On.” Further boosted by a string of Grammy nominations, Bailey Rae’s road to superstardom took a sharp turn when her husband, Jason Rae, died of an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol in March 2008.
Bailey Rae had been writing songs for her follow-up album when she learned of his passing. In 2009, she started recording a selection of tracks composed before and after her husband’s death. The result, 2010’s The Sea, is a sophomore record unlike what you would expect from most artists, especially ones that had been through her experience. The record explores their relationship while also touching upon themes of loss and struggle in a social and political sense as well as celebrating the good times we have in life. The Sea also delves musically into her jazz sensibilities and steers away from the pop tendencies more recognizably heard on her previous record.
Scott and Jason discuss how Bailey Rae’s personal loss deepens the listener’s experience of the record. Taking into consideration the combination of songs written before and after this personal trauma, it is a subtly ambitious album covering a number of themes that seem to become more complex and nuanced with every spin.
“Love’s On Its Way” is a call to action and a song of faith and hope. While Scott and Jason believe the song was written before Jason Rae’s death, it fits the theme of the album. The ocean is unpredictable, sweeping away the familiar and offering little consolation or promise for what it may bring in its place. Bailey Rae hints that deference to a higher power, whether natural or spiritual, is no substitute for the hard work that we all face in making ourselves and the world a better place in the face of uncertainty. “Love’s On Its Way” and The Sea as a whole serve as a reminder life is full of high and low tides. It suggests how we react to the ebbs and flows of things beyond our control is who we are and we should seize those opportunities to be the best we can be.