Last year, Elle Varner gained a ton of attention with the release of her mixtape Conversational Lush. The mixtape gained her a nice following and also produced her second single “Refill” (her first being “Only Wanna Give It To You). I’ve quickly become a fan of Elle due to her writing, unique vocals, and fun style, but I must admit I wasn’t sure if she could pull off a full album.
Today the 23 year old singer released her debut album Perfectly Imperfect and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. In an industry where most new artists head straight towards instant pop/dance hits, Elle has stayed true to her soulful R&B roots and delivered a pretty solid first album. There are a few times here and there where her style gets a bit repetitive, but overall I think this album will gain Elle a few new followers and force a few people in the industry to listen up and pay attention.
Check out my overall and track by track review below!
Vocal Delivery: 3.5/5
Lyrical Content: 3.5/5
Overall Production: 3/5
Only Wanna Give It To You – The lead single “Only Wanna Give It To You” was originally released as a download and features Elle’s signature vocals, a fun bassline, and a flirty but lackluster verse from J. Cole. This song is the perfect introduction to the album as it shows off Elle’s fun singing and writing styles. 3/5
Refill – Refill was the first song I heard from Elle and immediately fell in love with. Elle is a “conversational lush” in the catchy song comparing the feeling of being drunk to the feeling of first meeting someone. If the clever lyrics don’t win you over the dominant fiddle and repetitiveness of the sing-along worthy chorus is sure to do the trick! 4/5
Sound Proof Room – “Me and you, boy we’re gonna need a sound proof room,” Elle flirts on the soulful track. The background vocals, contagious drum pattern, and overtly sensual lyrics are sure to have you hitting replay. 3.5/5
I Don’t Care – “I Don’t Care” is easily one of my favorites from this album. This track features a simplistic production, allowing Elle’s lyrics to shine once again. Elle let’s her guard down and allows love to drive her crazy in this track that oozes passion. Seriously, it’s just so good! 4/5
Not Tonight – “Sound Proof Room” and “I Don’t Care” shows Elle being bold and openly vulnerable, but “Not Tonight” is the exact opposite. “Maybe in another life I could be the girl who walks up to a guy and tells him how she feels inside, but not tonight,” she sings. Elle dreams of telling a guy how she feels about him in the slow tune. It’s a nice break from the bouncier tracks. It’s rare that we get to see Elle’s unsure side, but she showcases it well. 3/5
Leaf – Elle delivers another smooth track with “Leaf.” Elle promises to be “lighter than a leaf in your pocket” and that’s exactly what this track feel like with it’s minimal production and Elle’s soft vocals. “Leaf” is a solid groove that could easily be put on repeat on one of those chill days when all you want to do is lounge in bed. 3/5
Oh What A Night – Elle goes acoustic for “Oh What A Night.” The track led by a simple guitar melody and bassline shows off Elle’s knack for storytelling once again. Elle gets drunk, looses her car, and buys drinks for everyone in the fun song. 3/5
Stop The Clock – Elle’s done waiting around in “Stop The Clock.” She looses her typical confidence and sings about a failing relationship in the song over infectious horns and synths. it’s a relatable song that will surely have you hitting repeat a few times. 3.5/5
Welcome Home – Elle realizes all she needs is a good man in “Welcome Home,” and that maybe her dreams of perfect domesticity have gotten in the way of that. She continues to prove that she’s a great storyteller over the piano & guitar driven song, but it’s not a stand out track. 3/5
Damn Good Friends – Elle falls in love with her friend in the singer/songwriter styled “Damn Good Friends.” Once again the passion in her voice is palpable as she sings lines like, “Thought I’d fly past the walls of your heart like your friend the fly taking my time before revealing my true intention,” and yearns for her friend to return her love. 4/5
So Fly – Like “Refill,” “So Fly” was first featured on Conversational Lush. Elle sings of being invisible because of her thick thighs, small boobs and lack of money. The sarcastic tune is super catchy (and a bit humorous) as Elle shuns the glamorous life and decides it’s better to be beautiful on the inside. 3.5/5