Elle Varner “Refill”
Truth Hurts. Sunshine Anderson. Tweet. Blu Cantrell.
The past decade and change has seen numerous female R&B newbies enter the scene with something exciting and refreshing (for some an extraordinary single or two; others, a spectacular debut album), only to fall off the map a short time later with a quick U-turn back into obscurity. So the pressure is definitely on for newcomer Elle Varner, currently lighting up urban radio airwaves with her charmingly ’90’s throwback-flavored debut “Only Wanna Give It To You”, to see if she has the goods to turn all of her early “one to watch”/ bright future buzz into a career that lasts longer than a single hit record cycle.
Judging by new leak, and rumored second single, “Refill” though, we don’t think Varner should be worrying too much about losing any of the steadily rising interest in her skills for a while.
“Fumbling, giggling, silly as ever/ I get like this after one too many,” sings Elle on the opening verse, her woozy state of mind illustrated by rubbery bass, twinkly keyboard notes that drunkenly fall onto each other and an ear-grabbing rapid-fire fiddle lick that injects the midtempo R&B number with a quirky bluegrass feel. An over-reliance on the sauce isn’t the source of her dizziness though, just the giddy, butterflies-in-stomach rush inspired by a guy giving her some undivided attention, leaving her feeling like “the girl at the bar who’s been there too long/ Can’t stand up!”.
What’s most interesting here–besides the fiddle–is how clean it all is. Varner’s simply crushing over the guy’s conversation, and while there are certain indicators displayed that seem to suggest something more is about to go down (the seductive bedroom-soul groove, the way her voice cracks with orgasmic delight at every request for a “refill”), Elle never lyrically goes anywhere raunchy, assertive in the idea that she really only wants this one-on-one moment with them just getting to know each other better to never end.
Left-field musicality tricks (Fiddle!!), clever songwriting that avoids the “mature” usual and a distinctive vocal stamp that’s both youthful and nicely seasoned with an old-school soul spirit? If Miss Varner continues to drop heat of this quality, avoiding the dreaded “one hit/ album wonder” tags should be no problem.