Perfectly Imperfect

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
It would be restrictive to compare Elle Varner to Chrisette Michele and Jazmine Sullivan, but the parallels are inescapable. As with her predecessors' debuts, Perfectly Imperfect sounds like the assured work of a singer and songwriter -- one who co-composes and co-produces her material -- who is on her third or fourth album. There are vocal similarities, too. Varner's delivery is magnetizing with a slight rasp, though she's neither as jazz-rooted nor as showy as Chrisette, and she never goes in the red like Jazmine. After a couple spins of Perfectly Imperfect -- principally made with young bucks Andrew "Pop" Wansel and Warren "Oak" Felder, along with some assistance from ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
It would be restrictive to compare Elle Varner to Chrisette Michele and Jazmine Sullivan, but the parallels are inescapable. As with her predecessors' debuts, Perfectly Imperfect sounds like the assured work of a singer and songwriter -- one who co-composes and co-produces her material -- who is on her third or fourth album. There are vocal similarities, too. Varner's delivery is magnetizing with a slight rasp, though she's neither as jazz-rooted nor as showy as Chrisette, and she never goes in the red like Jazmine. After a couple spins of Perfectly Imperfect -- principally made with young bucks Andrew "Pop" Wansel and Warren "Oak" Felder, along with some assistance from Varner's father, Jimmy -- her individuality pokes through. There's the playful anguish expressed in "Refill," a booming rattler with some twinkle and jittery fiddle, where Varner likens nerve-wracked flirting to acting tipsy: "Feel like a conversational lush, and I don't know how much is too much." Few songs evoke emotional butterflies as brilliantly as "I Don't Care," a production that swoons and stutters to augment Varner's love-struck bind: "I'm not designed for this/If I could speak in code, I wouldn't be so bold/I can't control my lips, lips, lips." It's something of a paradox that, for all of Varner's creative certitude, an overwhelming majority of her lyrics are self-deprecating. While the romping "Sound Proof Room" has a lot of presence, the album is thick with apprehension, doubt, and distanced longing. There's so much of it that one fights the urge to tell the woman to take figurative and literal looks in the mirror. This doesn't detract from the material; in fact, Varner's feelings are conveyed in such imaginative and clever ways that the second half's strummy pop and folk detours go down smoothly. This is one of 2012's most pleasing and promising debuts. The wait for the follow-up, whatever the length, will be far too long.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/7/2012
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 886975913220
  • Catalog Number: 759132
  • Sales rank: 33,701

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Only Wanna Give It To You (3:57)
  2. 2 Refill (4:00)
  3. 3 Sound Proof Room (3:07)
  4. 4 I Don't Care (3:06)
  5. 5 Not Tonight (4:56)
  6. 6 Leaf (3:17)
  7. 7 Oh What a Night (3:19)
  8. 8 Stop the Clock (4:05)
  9. 9 Welcome Home (4:09)
  10. 10 Damn Good Friends (3:59)
  11. 11 So Fly (3:37)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Elle Varner Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Background Vocals
Dave Foreman Guitar
Kenneth Crouch Strings, Keyboards, fender rhodes
Gene Lake Drums
Jonathan Maron Bass
Stan Slotter Trumpet
Jimmy Varner Bass, Piano, Keyboards
Jeff Byrd Percussion
Olga Konopelsky Violin
Emma Kummrow Violin
Mikelyn Roderick Background Vocals
Gregory Teperman Violin
Mark Ward Cello
Nina Cottman Violin
Dave Wood Acoustic Guitar
Steve Mostyn Bass, Guitar, Omnichord
Carl Cox Jr. Flute, Tenor Saxophone
Stephen Tirpak Trombone
Yohimbe Guitar
Leonhard Bartussek Cello
Melanie Daniels Background Vocals
Jr. Charles Parker Violin
Queen Rose Violin
James Cage Trumpet
Karen Anna Schubert French Horn
Robert Thomas Musician
Dru DeCaro Guitar
Alex Evans Bass
Thiannar Gomes Guitar
Robert Taylor Musician
Nayan Lassiter Bass
John Emmet Walsh Trumpet
Technical Credits
Dexter Wansel Composer, Producer, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements, Horn Conductor, String Conductor
Conley Abrams Engineer
Ronald Bell Composer
Robert "Spike" Mickens Composer
Jimmy Varner Composer, Producer, Vocal Producer
Marlon Williams Composer
Suzette Williams Producer
Donna Johnson Composer
Peter Edge Producer
Marcel Hall Composer
Tanisha Broadwater Composer
Miki Tsutsumi Engineer
Jeff Robinson Producer
Chess Club Producer
Warren "Oak" Felder Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Allan Fox Composer
George Brown Composer
Stuart White Engineer
Darhyl Camper Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Dennis Thomas Composer
Al Shuckburgh Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Robert Bell Composer
Claydes Smith Composer
Andrew "Pop" Wansel Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Jermaine Cole Composer
Kristin Lum Art Direction
Elle Varner Composer, Lyricist, Producer
Ronald "Flippa" Colson Programming
Donald Meadows Composer
Adrien Baker Composer
The Varners Vocal Arrangements, Vocal Producer, Vocal Recording
Roy Morgan Composer
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 22, 2012

    Grammy Worthy- Must Have!

    I don't know about other people but I still purchase CD's. This is an album that everyone should have in their collection if their into soul or R&B. Her voice is really amazing and her lyrics are easy to relate to but have a story of their own. She's new and totally underrated so if you don't know who Elle Varner is- Find Out!

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    “Imperfectly Perfect” by Elle Varner starts out upbe

    “Imperfectly Perfect” by Elle Varner starts out upbeat with hits such as “Only Wanna Give It To You” (feat J. Cole) and “Refill”. I was interested in checking out the cd because I enjoyed how “Refill” is a musical hybrid of country and R&B music. “Sound Proof Room”, “I Don’t Care”, “Stop the Clock” and “Damn Good Friends” show an authentic side to her that comes out with great conviction. I just wish that there were would have been more musical hybrid songs that are in the spirit of “Refill”. Most of the songs are more in the spirit of the J.Cole collaboration. With that said, “Imperfectly Perfect” is best for those who would enjoy musical tracks in the spirit of “Only Wanna Give It To You” (featuring J. Cole).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews