Corinne Bailey Rae: The Love EP

A fascinating five-song respite after two brilliant albums—the 2006 self-titled debut and 2010’s The Sea—from this very special British female singer-songwriter, The Love EP is quirky enough to finish with a 13-minute rambling live version of Doris Day’s “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be).” Rae slow-slow-slows it down to its bare essence to squeeze out every last single ounce of available soul. Amazingly enough, it’s not the first R&B version of this Oscar-winning song from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much; Sly & The Family Stone covered it in 1973.

Two of these five cover versions actually best the originals: “My Love” might’ve reached number one when Paul McCartney wrote it for Wings in 1973, but it just seemed too white ‘n’ wimpy back then. Time, though, has deepened its melodic appeal and Rae nails it beautifully. Rae’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” to these male ears, is better than Prince’s original. They’re both funky sexy stews of ear candy but, hey, although I do loves me some Prince, when it comes to real lovin’ I’ll take Rae any day.

On “Is This Love,” Rae brings to the fore the song’s inherent doo-wop that was deeply imbedded in the Bob Marley original. Very cool. And Belly’s “Low Red Moon” is closest Rae has come so far to rock as its guitars are turned up to accentuate the almighty riff.

In A Word: Eccentric