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All Of Me
ESTELLE GOES MOTIVATIONAL
Jackie Hayden, 12 Apr 2012
Shine made Estelle a Brit-soul household name, so it’s curious that she would decide to follow it up with an overdue album spoiled by motivational raps about, among other things, dating being “a daily challenge”. Maybe Estelle is chasing the after-dinner circuit?
The cod-philosophising aside, All Of Me is a comfortable mix of myriad styles, some tracks driven by restless rhythms and others designed for chilling out. It kicks off with the full-on swagger of ‘The Life’. I bet ‘International (Serious)’ with Chris Brown and Trey Songz sounds good on the dancefloor too. ‘Love The Way We Used To’ has an old-style eccentric feel. She really hits it off with Rick Ross on the luscious ‘Break My Heart’, and ‘Wonderful Life’ has such a natural charm that it could be the album’s radio hit. There’s genuine sass too when Janelle Monáe links up for the retro anthem ‘Do My Thing’, although how it took nine people to write the lyrics for ‘Speak Ya Mind’ deserves its own tribunal.
The influence of Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation might not be overly healthy, but when you focus on the music All Of Me works in the best possible way. She is at her most commanding on soul pop tunes. Next time, maybe Estelle should leave the agony aunt stuff on the cutting-room floor.