The Heart Speaks in Whispers

With the passing of Prince, the obvious question is: Who’s going to fill the void? The obvious answer is: No one; at least not alone. Corinne Bailey Rae offers a partial answer. She’s driven parallel to Paisley Park for a decade, redefining genre boundaries with creative fusions of sound. She drew pop into her orbit with 2006’s “Put Your Records On” and won an R&B Grammy with 2012’s “Is This Love.” Her third LP, The Heart Speaks in Whispers, evokes The Purple One’s “Diamonds and Pearls” plus Burt Bacharach, Cocteau Twins, Stevie Wonder … you get the idea. There’s no hit single here; the CD shrink-wrap sticker promotes “Stop Where You Are,” “Green Aphrodisiac” (the video on her website) and “Been to the Moon,” which are high points but not Top 40 highlights. That the album opens experimentally (unique brew “The Skies Will Break”) and closes conventionally (lacey, soft ballad “Night”), with an unpredictable journey in between, speaks volumes. Vocalist, musician, writer, producer: Rae is an artist, just when the music world needs one.