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RCA Records

Freshcut

‘Perfectly Imperfect’ Elle Varner

Elle Varner’s debut album is titled, “Perfectly Imperfect,” but she should have called it “Perfect.” The newcomer’s 11-track set is pure excellence, full of R&B gems that are silky, smooth and jamming.

Her voice – raspy at times, soft at others – is the focal point of the album as it glides over songs and adapts to the different beats, which include hip-hop (“Only Wanna Give It to You,” “I Don’t Care”), funk-soul (“So Fly”) and contemporary R&B (“Welcome Home”).

“Stop the Clock” is flavorful and addictive, thanks to its dramatic beat and the sound of handclapping dominating the chorus. “Refill,” a Top 10 R&B hit, is velvety and could easily be a TV jingle.

Producers Oak & Pop, best known for their work on Nicki Minaj’s “Your Love” and Big Sean’s “Marvin and Chardonnay,” helm most of the songs, though Varner’s father, Jimmy Varner, co-writes and produces some of the tracks, and her mother, Mikelyn Roderick, works as a vocal producer and background singer. Varner, a graduate of Clive Davis’ music school at New York University, co-wrote each song, and she’s got a skill with the pen.

– Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press

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