Top 5 Songs from Elle Varner’s Debut Album ‘Perfectly Imperfect’

Elle Varner Perfectly Imperfect

Elle Varner Perfectly Imperfect
As she came in the game with a beat and bounce (word to Azealia Banks), the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter Elle Varner proved she had star power with the J. Cole-assisted “Only Wanna Give It To You,” the quirky and catchy “Refill,” and the luscious “I Don’t Care.”

Whether it was her jazzy vocals, relatable storytelling, or overall cool-girl-from-around-the-way persona, Varner successfully pulled us in and unveiled her magic to us on her debut album, aptly titled Perfectly Imperfect.

In celebration of the album’s 5th anniversary, we’ve selected a handful of her best songs from her RCA Records debut. Here are our Top 5 songs:


Ms. Varner is every woman and it’s all in her on this slow-burning deep cut. Varner lets her lover know what she can do, be and accomplish as his woman on this Oak & Pop-produced record. “So when you go into a storm/I will be there, protect you/I will the shoot the wave down/I’ll come around, surround you / With a light I’ve never shown/I will be there lighter than a leaf in your pocket/I’ll be the air,” she sings. What makes this a standout is that it’s (arguably) the smoothest record on the album, which is due to the funky bass and stunning tenderness in her voice. This would’ve been a nice pick for the fourth and final single, as the song is as breezy as a cool, autumn night.

“Not Tonight”

If Brandy’s “Have You Ever” had a twin, it would definitely be this album cut from Perfectly Imperfect. On the Pop & Oak and Jimmy Varner produced track, Elle describes her feelings of undying love to her true love, which is unfortunately unbeknownst to him. “Maybe, maybe in another life/I could be the girl who walks up to the guy/And tells him, tells him how she feels inside/But not tonight, tonight,” she sings. Although Elle’s pen game is always on point, it definitely shows here through the vividness and honesty in the verses. Pair that with a beautiful, Prince-esque electric guitar and Elle’s finest vocal showing, and we definitely have a winner.


Who knew a hip-hop bass line, staccato drum machine, and a fiddle’s riff on a continuous loop could make for one of the best R&B songs of this decade? Elle, in all of her “giggling” and “fumbling” glory, effortlessly tells the story of where all love first begins: the initial attraction. “Wishin’ and hopin’ that I don’t blow it/I’m nervous as hell/I don’t wanna show it/And right now I don’t even know what I’m saying,” she sings. Outside of its uniquely genius sound (crafted by R&B hitmakers Andrew “Pop” Wansel and DJ Camper), it stands as the perfect follow-up to her lead single “Only Wanna Give It To You.” This record showcased a sexier side of her artistry, but, at the song’s core, remained her best quality: her knack for storytelling.

“I Don’t Care”

Led by a beautiful sample of Kool & The Gang’s “Little Children,” Elle tells the story of love in its purest form. “Clearly I’m gone and I’m going/Into the deep end/Far over my head/It’s so unfair/I’m gone and its showing/All over my skin/Everyone knows gone and it shows/But I don’t care,” she sings. The song’s sound is lush and sonically pleasing, but why it makes this list is how the story of the song is told in its music video, which is filled with beautiful images of same-sex and interracial relationships juxtaposed with the hatred experienced by both groups, bringing this groovy house party jam to life.

“Damn Good Friends”

Driven by an acoustic guitar, Elle is willing and ready to leave the friend zone on the album’s penultimate track. “Two puzzles/Identical with the same piece/Missing from both never complete/Never achieving our true perfection/So why go scour the Earth for missed piece/Maybe the piece is in our kiss/Maybe the answers in my direction,” she sings. Written and produced solely by her and her father, Jimmy Varner, this track could almost serve as a back story for its preceding track “Welcome Home,” which was also written and produced by the Varners. The lyrical game is always Elle’s to play, but it’s the way she wields her voice with the perfect mix of romanticism, admiration, and frustration that makes this one a shining star on an already bright album.

What’s are some of your favorites from Perfectly Imperfect? Do you agree with our list? What song(s) did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below!

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5 Reasons We Love Faith Evans

Faith Evans is undoubtedly one of the greatest gifts to music. For more than two decades, the Grammy-winning artist has released an impactful catalog of music that has touched many hearts in all the right places with tender ballads like “You Used To Love Me,” and “I Love You.” Not only has Evans pulled our heartstrings, she’s gotten us out our seats and made us dance with party-starter anthems such as “Love Like This” and “All Night Long.”

As we get ready to dance ‘all night long’ for her 45th birthday, Rated R&B has compiled a list of reasons why we love Faith Evans.

1. She has killer background vocals

Evans has served up iconic background harmonies and melodies for many of our favorite R&B artists. From Hi-Five and Usher to Jon B and LSG, Evans has contributed her mesmerizing soprano notes to their discographies. Remember Mary J. Blige’s song “Don’t Go” from her My Life album? Evans brought her gospel influence (and elements of the New York Restoration Choir) to the ending reprise of the record.

2. She keeps the legacy of The Notorious B.I.G. alive

Since the untimely death of The Notorious B.I.G in 1997, Evans has made it her mission to honor his memory every chance she gets. Whether it’s recording a tribute song (“I’ll Be Missing You”) or bringing his life to theaters (Notorious), Evans wants us to know ‘we’ll always love you big poppa.’

In 2017, she released a duets album (The King & I) with previously released and rare vocals from her late husband. The LP also featured guest appearances from several hip-hop artists including Jadakiss and Lil’ Kim.

3. She re-introduced us to R&B legends.

Evans brought a nostalgic moment to television when she executive produced TV One’s hit reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta in 2012. The show told the current, real-life stories of multi-talented artists including Nicci Gilbert, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson, Dawn Robinson and Keke Wyatt.

In addition to the hit show, Evans spearheaded a full-length album (R&B Divas) that heard many of the stars voices for the first time in years. The project earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album in 2014.

4. She’s more than a singer, she’s a musician.

Evans brings more than just a voice to the studio. She possesses versatility in all areas of a recording process including songwriting, producing, engineering and vocal arranging. She’s lent her musicianship to several artists such as 112, Robin Thicke, Keyshia Cole and Q Parker to name a few.

Evan has also served as the executive producer on many of her projects and film soundtracks like Keep The Faith, Faithfully, Notorious, R&B Divas and The King and I.

5. She’s an ageless beauty.

Faith Evans’ unchanging good looks have followed her from the beginning of her career to now. She’s had the ability to rock a myriad of hairstyles. She can pull off the around the way girl look without having anyone to question why she has it on. Lastly, she doesn’t even have to wear makeup. She’s can proudly say, “I woke up like this.”

Follow Faith Evans on Instagram at @therealfaithevans and wish her a happy birthday!

5 Proclamations Made on Ashanti’s Album ‘The Declaration’

Can you believe 10 years have flown by since Ashanti released her fourth album The Declaration? It was the first time fans had to wait more than a year for her album to drop — but it was for a good reason, though.

The New York native was undergoing several changes in the music industry, while also stretching her talents in other ventures. She found herself switching labels and acting in two films (John Tucker Must Die and Resident Evil: Extinction) as the dust settled with the ongoing investigation of The Inc. Records (formerly Murder Inc.).

Ashanti’s time away from the music spotlight promoted the title of her 2008 release. “The reason why I named the album The Declaration is because this time around, during that four-year gap, I learned so much and I grew up so much,” she stated in a 2008 interview with “This time around I handled my project completely on my own. I executive produced the entire album from the behind the scenes to the creative process. So, The Declaration just stands for declaring a sense of independence, a sense of freedom and just a sense of growing up.”

Testing the waters with a few songs ( “Switch” and “Hey Baby (After the Club)” ), Ashanti officially kicked off The Declaration era with “The Way That I Love You” in fall 2007. Shortly after securing her ninth top 5 single (No. 2) on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the album was released on June 3, 2008.

As we glance back at Ashanti’s decade-old album, here are five proclamations made on The Declaration.

“You’re Gonna Miss”

1. The proclamation of self worth.

Not all love is worth fighting for. Find the strength to move on. Don’t look back or second guess if you made the right decision to leave.

“And when I try to justify what you did wrong / It’s like I’m constantly reminded that I can’t move on.”

“The Way That I Love You”

2. The proclamation of trusting your intuition.

These days, you can’t put anything past your lover. Although we don’t want to believe the ugly truth about our mate, face it head-on. It could be the thing to help heal your heart faster.

“Felt like you were hidin’ something, but I didn’t push it / I didn’t complain or say nothing.”


3. The proclamation of never dimming your light.

No one can take anything from you — especially your light. They might try and dim your bulb so their light can shine bright but always let ‘em know: it’s enough wattage for the both of us.

“They’ll try to take you, try to break you down / Remember you are born to shine.”

“Good Good”

4. The proclamation of sexual confidence.

Confidence starts within. Once you secure self-assurance about yourself (most importantly your body), you can only imagine the fire it will bring to the bedroom. Your mate shouldn’t even think about looking elsewhere if you possess that “good good.”

“Cause when I say I got that pop lock and drop it believe me / If I’m with you, it’s gon’ kill you on the days you don’t see me.”


5. The proclamation to honor thy mother.

A simple act of kindness should be putting a smile on your mother’s face. Yes, sometimes they drive us crazy and tell us the truth when our friends don’t, but the bond is unlike any other. So, hold on to it. Make sure to cherish her (or whomever you look up to as a mother in your life).

“I thank you, and I love you / And I would never place anyone above you.”

Stream The Declaration below.

What proclamations did you hear on The Declaration. Let us know in the comment section below.

Stream Part One of Jessie J’s ‘R.O.S.E’ Album (Realisations)

Jessie J has released Realisations, the first installment of her four-part album, R.O.S.E.

Composed of four tracks, the DJ Camper-produced project finds the British singer in the best music headspace. The opening track “Oh Lord” will leave you breathless while “Dopamine” will have you stuck in your feelings. In other words: so far, so good Jessie J and DJ Camper.

Speaking on the R.O.S.E album, Jessie J says, “The songs on R.O.S.E. are simply me singing my diary in a melody. I am so grateful and happy that anyone who has been waiting for this record in full will finally have it.”

Jessie J recently premiered an empowering video for “Queen,” which will appear on the new album. Obsessions, the second installment, will be released on tomorrow (May 23). Fans can hear Sex (May 24) and Empowerment (May 25) later this week.

Stream Realisations below.

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