Elle Varner just released her latest album “Ellevation, and it’s a slow moving dream that we don’t want to wake up from. “Ellevation" marks Varner’s first work since “Perfectly Imperfect" in 2012. The 2019 version of the artist shows nuanced inspirations derived from alternative RnB, indie, and soul, with sprinklings of homages to Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.
Most of the tracks are catchy enough to straddle the line between RnB, jazz and soul, with the relevance of exciting new artists combined with the timelessness of icons of the past. She’s the love-child of Ella Mai and Ella Fitzgerald, and it’s a sound that we’re not getting tired of anytime soon.
Drums play a surprisingly dominant role in “Ellevation”, but you don’t hear too many of the classical music tropes. The tracks might be easy to digest, but the concept is anything but simple.
Songs like “Loving U Blind” take on a folk tone as far as vocal and guitar style, proving herself a hefty competitor in the indie scene as well. And yet, singles like “Kinda Love“ remain versatile enough for radio consumption.
Varner makes a cliched broken heart feel like we’re experiencing it for the first time in high school. She puts frustratingly accurate sentiments to the beat in “number one song”, comparing her ex to a catchy radio hit that you dread but simply can’t get out of your head. Instead of wallowing, Varner sets new boundaries for potential lovers in the strident, electro infused “Kinda Love”.
“Ellevation” features prominent artists like Rapsody and Wale; but this time around, it’s clearly Varner who shines.