After what seems like a year of stalling, Elle Varner finally released her debut album last week. Perfectly Imperfect boasts 11 songs, none of which are easily pigeonholed into one genre. The album as a whole is decidedly pop/R&B though, with an emphasis being placed on the pop side.
What separates Elle, who is only 23, from contemporaries such as Beyonce and Rihanna who tread that line between pop and R&B is that there is an honesty to her songs. Listening to them, you feel like this is the life she’s really living. The two lead singles, “Only Wanna Give it to You” and “Refill” kick off the set at number one and two, respectively. These two were chosen as singles for a reason, they are by far the best tracks here.
Other noteworthy tracks are “Leaf,” “Oh What a Night,” and “So Fly.”
Elle’s voice is amazing throughout and I’d say that it is so unique that it will quickly become one of the most recognizable out there. She often gets compared to Alicia Keys and rightfully so. Not because of her piano prowess, but because her album is dropping at the right time and will inevitably give young women of today that same feeling that Keys’s Songs in A Minor did back in 2001. Remember how you felt when you first heard “Fallin”? I have no doubt that is how the 18 – 25 set of today felt when they heard “Refill.” Two totally different songs, yet they fit their respective times of release.
Don’t get me wrong though, those same girls who loved Alicia Keys’s debut are now women and can still enjoy Elle Varner. At 28, I can honestly say after years of “Fallin” and wondering “How come you don’t call me anymore” I do indeed feel “like the girl at the bar who’s been there too long, can’t stand up.” I’ve been wanting a refill, and Elle is giving it to me.
Does she have staying power? We’ve seen Alicia Keys grow up. We’ve seen her take the braids out, put on a tight dress, fall in love, and have a baby. She said she was ready, on her last album and she wasn’t lying.
Elle though seems pretty confident already, so to see her grow will be to see her release something more soulful. I look forward to it.