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Music Rae Morris

Published on February 12th, 2018 | by voxx

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Rae Morris – Someone Out There

The former balladeer’s left-field electro-pop rebirth…

Rae Morris’s 2015 debut album, Unguarded, was equal parts pop gloss and singer-songwriter melancholy. Though the soaring ‘Love Again’ got some exposure in a TV ad for online fashion brand Boohoo.com, Blackpool-born Morris didn’t quite crack the mainstream in the way Ellie Goulding, an artist with similar grown-up pop sensibilities, had managed a few years earlier. So it’s understandable that for album two, that Morris has refined the formula a bit. Her songs can still be sad and dramatic, but this time she’s fully embraced the sleek beats and gleeful hooks of electro-pop.

Thankfully, it really suits her. Recent single ‘Atletico (The Only One)’ is a brilliant introduction to the new, more pop-focused Morris: over percolating electronic beats supplied by underrated producer Fryars, she confronts a dilemma many will relate to: whether or not to make the first move on the dancefloor. “I could stand and admire, or give in to desire,” she sings, setting the scene in just 10 words. ‘Do It’, a song about taking a risk or giving into sexual temptation, feels just as evocative. And the beautifully-crafted pop tracks ‘Reborn’ and ‘Lower the Tone’ manage to feel restrained and euphoric at the same time – a tricky combination to pull off.

However, this doesn’t mean Morris has reined in all of her artier and more poetic tendencies. The sublime ‘Rose Garden’ builds from minimal beginnings towards a rousing, industrial-sounding crescendo. The title track’s elegant piano balladry offers a tasteful look back to the sound of her debut. And ‘Dancing with Character’, inspired by watching an older couple hit the floor in a working men’s club in Blackpool, is a lovely pop vignette with lyrics that stay just the right side of cheesy: “Such a wonderful dancer, it embarrassed her / He was dancing with character / He was always a fan of her and married her.” Just try not to melt.

Someone Out There is so full of emotion and melody, it’s destined to become a favourite with pop obsessives. It also deserves to bring Morris a handful of proper hit singles. But whatever happens next, this already sounds like one of 2018’s best pop albums. On the second track, Morris sings dramatically: “I am reborn.” By the end, it’s clear she wasn’t messing about.

- By Jake White


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