Last year around this time Toni Braxton and Babyface released what I thought to be the best all around R&B project of 2014. The good folks of the Grammy academy agreed and recently awarded that album as the R&B Album of the Year. Estelle’s True Romance has that same feel as I listen to it. It’s a special album and as her third full-length project she delivers eleven songs with the precise intention of cementing herself as one of the top voices in the genre. With smooth ballads, well thought out lyrics and a delicate balance of adult content True Romance fulfills the goal.
True Romance is led by the single, “Conqueror” which appeared on the soundtrack for the film Addicted. The song speaks of empowerment over rhythmic drum pattern. Estelle shines on the track because her voice overpowers all and her message as well as her soul are able to break through. This like much of the album is Estelle at her best.
True Romance can’t exist without passion. Estelle finds that racy and raunchy side of her on “Make Her Say (Beat It Up” and “Time Share.” The tracks couldn’t be any more different however as the former speaks to lust and the latter speaks to a deep an emotional love. “Time Share” is laced with a generous amount of word play and prose, while “Make Her Say” gets straight to the point.
In the past Estelle has stretched her music to encompass Hip-Hop and Reggae elements. This time she strays from anything but R&B and the listener is rewarded with songs like “Fight For It”and “Gotcha Love. Even on “She Will Love” where the instrumental features dub step elements, Estelle remains true to a slow groove reminiscent of an ol skool Lauryn Hill record, but still unique to the voice and sound of Estelle.
The album’s final track, “All That Matters” is one of the highlights of True Romance. An us against the world type anthem, the piano laced melody is the best framework for this type of song. The iTunes bonus tracks, “Not Sure” is more of a party anthem but its a worthy addition to an already great project.
True Romance receives a PARL
Here’s the video for Estelle’s single, “Conqueror”
Preview the album here: