Elle Varner - Perfectly Imperfect
- Artist: Elle Varner
- Album: Perfectly Imperfect
- Label: RCA Records
- Year of Release: 2012
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: carlita on 2012-08-29
Seeing Elle Varner for the first time at the Roots pre-Grammy jam this year perform Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You", choosing to sing that song on the night she died, it was obvious this newcomer's quickly been identified as someone with serious chops and something to say by respected industry insiders. Her debut's been touted by several as one of the best albums of the year but records hyped like this usually are set up for (my) disappointment.
Before listening, reading that many place Elle on par with Alicia Keys, generating similar buzz comparing Perfectly Imperfect to "Songs In A Minor" which launched Alicia into orbit could possibly be premature. The real question on my mind is would I buy into the concept that someone with flawless skin and who looks like a model now has the same insecurities in relationships that us regular girls do?
Not a rocket scientist but I ventured to guess and expected the main message on an album co-written by 23 year old Elle called Perfectly Imperfect to be "Here are my issues. Thank you. K. Bye". Listening to the first track, "Only Want To Give It To You", Elle's jazz, "rough around the edges" voice which is reminiscent of Chrisette Michelle and Ledisi hits the listener's ears immediately. Rocked with the "Make The Music with Your Mouth" borrowed beat and thought bringing in J.Cole, who I just met last weekend and who seems to be on every remix nowadays, was a nice touch. The fiddle on "Refill", a song comparing a man to happy juice, added an interesting dimension that was randomly dope.
The main themes throughout are passion (i.e. "Sound Proof Room", "Stop The Clock") and infatuation (i.e. "I Don't Care", "Leaf" and highlight "Not Tonight") and it's not a given she will end the night in her intended's arms. Pop and radio friendly "Oh What A Night" exhibits youthful vibrance, recalling a night of partying too much. Alicia Keys-like emotion does come through on "Welcome Home". Elle drops the comparisons to others, on another album highlight, voicing relatable frustration, being stuck in a friendship, wanting to cross the line into more on "Damn Good Friends". Amusingly ending the album with a confessional song about her physical blemishes (what flaws?) and accepting yourself for who you are, this album was def "so fly".
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