Estelle - All Of Me

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On "All of Me," Estelle wisely retains the personality and spirit that contributed to her successful first and second albums, but doesn't dwell on the past.

Everyone would love to have a megahit record like Estelle’s “American Boy,” but the few who do, often find themselves at a loss for their next move—some try too hard to recreate that hit; others try too hard to distance themselves from it. On All of Me, however, Estelle wisely retains the personality and spirit that contributed to her successful first and second albums, but doesn’t dwell on the past. She sounds just as comfortable as she did on her last album, and overall, delivers her best LP yet.

Estelle has a broad scope of influences, but she successfully bends those various styles to her will and makes them all feel coherent. “Thank You” is more traditional R&B, but she simultaneously moves into the present and the past of the genre with the slinky “Cold Crush.” Many songs do feel like they fit into one specific radio format or another, but there’s enough effort put into the work that it all feels sincere rather than coming off as a series of deliberate cash-grabs.

That’s not to say there aren’t some potential hits: “Love The Way We Used To” has a slightly quirky tone that could make it a surprise success, and “Wonderful Life” should play well with (what used to be) the VH1 set. Meanwhile, “International (Serious)” seems well tailored for 106th & Park with appearances from Chris Brown and Trey Songz over a club-ready beat from David (David David David) Banner (Banner Banner Banner).

Singers who like to rap tend to be problematic, but it wears well on Estelle during “Speak Ya Mind” or any of the other rapped asides dropped throughout. She also blends well with Rick Ross (“Break My Heart”) and Janelle Monae (“Do My Thang”) on tracks that accommodate the guests without shoving Estelle to the side. The interludes do feel a bit Miseducation-ish but they do have their own sensibility, plus Lauryn Hill’s classic gets a little shoutout later on, so any imitation is all love.

There wasn’t necessarily much doubt, but Estelle has firmly proved that she’s worth checking for. In addition to her general growth as an artist, All of Me mainly works due to Estelle having the confidence to let it work instead of over-thinking it. She’s smoothly navigated around the burden of expectation, so while it remains to be seen if the public responds as well as they did last time, she’s done her part by delivering a solid album.

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13 Comments

  • insanemacbeth

    no loyalty in this music ting. this gurrl 'made it', so to speak...and never brought SIR PRESTIGE, and/ or SKEME...the two people that started her off!!!

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  • no way jose

    Estelle sucks.

  • Anonymous

    this chick is the best

  • glafflin

    This is not a rap only site you jackasses, its called hiphopdx and as far as i can remember r&b can be classified with hiphop. Even most rappers admit to listening to pop,r&b and rock as well.

  • Anonymous

    This is why so many of yall are mentally fucked. It more music out here than rap music. They trying to get your dumb ass to branch out.

    • No

      You must be the one that's been mentally raped. If they want to review other albums then they should have renamed themselves worldmusicdx and not hiphopdx so get over it. The comments are relevant. You just cannot review an album because the musician is black.

  • cinavenom

    This goes to show two things. One, this is a horrible year for hip hop so far, they don't have shit to review. And two, this site is more about pop music then hip hop music. Yes where is Planet Asia's review?

    • thafranchise

      I agree with everything Mike said!!!

    • Mike

      Not worth getting worked up about, man. She has crossover appeal. No one's forced to read the review. And it's generating traffic, which means more people click on the ads and help fund this site and they can charge more for banner ads. I'm sure HipHopDX's owners have plenty of bills to pay. Not everyone can live in their mom's basement like you. :)

  • nope

    This is a Rap site. Where the fuck is Planet Asia's review?

  • imTravi

    Pretty solid album. I like it