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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/elle-varner-perfectly-imperfect-1350498882.jpg Perfectly Imperfect

Elle Varner

Perfectly Imperfect

RCA
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
October 17, 2012

This confident and catchy major-label debut from 23-year-old singer-songwriter Elle Varner is made even stronger by its smart musical details – a subtle ESG sample on the slinky J. Cole duet "Only Want To Give It To You," a rolling baseline on "Sound Proof Room" that sounds like desire pushing forward. Varner's vocals accentuate the plain-spoken nature of her lyrics: On the adoring "Leaf" her soprano curls around simple proclamations of love, while the exquisitely pained "Damn Good Friends" sounds as if its lyrics were lifted from a crumpled-up letter to a too-close confidant. The body-conscious "So Fly" is the strongest testament to her chops; her flippant delivery and last-verse embrace of her self save the track from being an R&B "Cathy" strip. 

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