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BLACK RAINBOWS

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About this deal

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.

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. 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". With ferocious energy and clear-eyed confidence, it’s as though Rae is introducing herself all over again.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.

Even better is closer Before the Throne of the Invisible God, on which, metamorphosis complete, she becomes an east Pennine Alice Coltrane.The softer turns on Black Rainbows feel nearest to Rae’s earlier material, but those, too, subvert expectations.

Since then, the song has become a staple of easy listening channels and kindred playlists, even spinning off one viral cover. 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. In these songs, Rae races through a surprising range of emotions—glee, doubt, pride, anger, grief, and peace—but her nimble ushering prevents any whiplash. 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.Less than two minutes long, it feels like the project’s thematic banner even more than the electro-collage title track.

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