Estelle - Shine

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Estelle - Shine

Post by Baz on Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:35 am

Born in 1980, she wrote a hit song all about it (um, 1980) – a tasty pop double-yolker that sated the nostalgic pangs of listeners who remembered that year while also appealing to those who were born in it. Couldn’t she write a few more as clever as that?

If recent interviews are anything to go by, there’s only so much to be gained from asking Estelle how she went from being an out-of-contract one-hit wonder to this: a second album featuring a wish-list of collaborators such as Kanye West, Mark Ronson and Will.I.Am. She says she couldn’t have done it without the Good Lord above us. God may be her co-pilot, but that’s John Legend’s name on the fuselage. Whatever the US sultan of Starbucks soul saw in Estelle, it was enough to get her signed to his new Homeschool imprint.

If Estelle’s charms can stay intact on record, they must be even more intense in the studio. That might explain why the guesting A-listers are so touched by her presence. On American Boy, Kanye West – a man more accustomed to boasting about his Cristal consumption – seems tickled by the singer’s love of Ribena, before Estelle weighs back in with a chorus reminiscent of Patrice Rushen’s mighty 1982 soul standard Forget Me Nots. Future hits are forming an orderly queue.

She has denied any extra-curricular involvement with Legend, but hearing them together on the rhapsodic soft-soul shuffle of You Are, it’s understandable that many were moved to ask the question. Retooled from the verses of George Michael’s Faith, No Substitute Love is full of the sorts of things you hope Cheryl Cole might have told the faithless Ashley once the game was up. The romantic overtures of Come Over fit snugly into the hook-and-pull of an ace lovers’ rock melody.

Best of the lot, though, is In the Rain, on which Estelle apes the mores of a classic R&B summer jam, until declaring, “I’m talking about English summer/ You know, where it rains”. And if, on the same song, she appears to smirk a little on the line “Apparently you only get one chance”, you can hardly blame her. There’s a nothing-to-lose confidence in these songs that defies resistance.

A happy ending? Sure – but more importantly, an almighty new beginning.


1. Wait A Minute (Just A Touch)

2. No Substitute Lover

3. American Boy

4. More Than Friends

5. Magnificent

6. Come Over

7. So Much Out The Way

8. In The Rain

9. Back In Love

10. You Are - Estelle & John Legend

11. Pretty Please (Love Me)

12. Shine


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