Estelle, All of Me
Connecting music's past with the present
With a vocal approach that falls somewhere between Sade’s quiet storm and Beyonce’s full-throated pop rapture, Estelle applies toughness and tenderness in equal measure. She goes toe-to-toe with bad boy Rick Ross on “Break My Heart,” then plays the innocent schoolgirl on “Cold Crush” for a sweet slice of girl group pop. Better still, Estelle becomes queen of the latter-day rhythm nation on the Janelle MonÃ e-esque workout “Speak Ya Mind,” which kicks off with a marching drum cadence, followed by Estelle rattling off words like a school girl throwing down jump rope rhymes. Next up is an honest-to-goodness actual MonÃ e duet – “Do My Thing,” where modern R&B shimmies up to’60s soul. All of Me seamlessly connects music’s past with the present, while Estelle makes those distinctions seem irrelevant.