Estelle
Shine


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
April 10th, 2009 | 84 replies | 5,458 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With the help of many friends, this soulful English hip-hopper aims for an American audience, yet still retains sufficient distinctive traits to make for an interesting & successful listen.

There was much to like about Estelle’s debut LP ‘The 18th Day’. With her distinctive English accent and humble delivery of all things hip-hop, soul and contemporary R&B, it seemed fresh. This was especially the case when she was not succumbing to the traits of her American counterparts, a trap she has almost had to fall into on follow-up release ‘Shine’. As the story goes, the vocalist wanted soulster John Legend to executive produce her 2nd album, but her record label (V2) declined. Initially uncontracted, Estelle literally packed her bags and set up residence in New York where she eventually signed on to Legend’s start-up label HomeSchool. Estelle got her man… and many more!

Lead single and album opener ‘Wait A Minute (Just A Touch)’ is produced by (& features) Will.I.Am, and showcases the vocalists range with clear free-flowing rhymes during the verses and soulful melodic hooks in the chorus. Wyclef Jean then takes the producing reins on 3rd single ‘No Substitute Love’, which cleverly uses the lyrics of George Michael’s ‘Faith’ to kick things off, before laying down an old-school Lauren Hill-esque jazz piece which should effortlessly get stuck in the mind of listeners.

And then of course there is the Grammy Award winning and worldwide smash hit ‘American Boy’, which contains a signifigant vocal contribution from none other than Kanye West. In a sense, this terrific cut sums up Estelle’s motives on ‘Shine’ as the transatlantic nature of it (dare I say) shines through in not only the vocal accents, but also the effective lyrics and electronica laced bounce of the synths. It all results in a throroughly satisfying song which deserved to contend for single of 2008.

The mid-section of ‘Shine’ is a collection of this, that & the other where certain songs will appeal to particular listeners, while putting others to sleep. Estelle still does not hit the mark on a true ballad (‘More Than Friends’ and ‘Back In Love’), while both ‘Come Over’ and ‘In the Rain’ over-rely on their likeable melodies. Even the vocal collaboration with John Legend on ‘You Are’ is slightly disappointing despite some nice harmonies. The Kardinall Offishall assisted & Mark Ronson produced ‘Magnificent’ adds a reggae flavor to the mix, although the best of the batch is when Wyclef returns to help Estelle modernize Bob Marley on ‘So Much Out the Way’. Based on 1977s ‘So Much Things To Say’, it ambitiously welds multiple musical styles interestingly and, for the most part, successfully.

Any concern that the album has lost all momentum due to its mid-section is put to rest with a very strong final two tracks. Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo joins the party on 4th single ‘Pretty Please (Love Me)’, a good-time fun-loving Motown-inspired throwback which should appeal to a wide audience. Meanwhile, the closing title track practically revises the criminally under-appreciated ‘1980’ from her debut, as Estelle updates her nut-shelled life story with an uplifting motivational theme that is delivered with spot-on vocals.

It is clear that in comparison to Estelle’s debut LP, ‘Shine’ is more aimed at the U.S market. This is to be somewhat expected and when considering the range of producers & co-singers she has been able to work with here, it would have been borderline foolish to not head in that direction to some degree. Thankfully, ‘Shine’ retains a sufficient helping of Estelle’s engaging English personality and near-experimental combination of hip-hop, soul, R&B and reggae, to make it an interesting and ultimately successful album. Like her debut, it is not perfect as a few songs miss the target. However, when they hit, this album truly “shines”.

Recommended Tracks: American Boy, No Substitute Love, Shine & So Much Out the Way.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I rank this about on par with her debut, even if they are fairly different.

AtavanHalen
April 10th 2009



17927 Comments


Tell Sputnik that we need more seats
Champ Kind just sold out all the floor seats

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You would be pleased to know Davey, my sister has this on her computer so i gave it a listen through.
Alrite, but average.

I enjoy 'American Boy,' so it gets an extra .5


.This Message Edited On 04.10.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes DavID, I love that line from 'American Boy'. In fact, I like the lyrics on that song full stop. They're not phenomenally clever or anything like that, but they just hit the spot.

There you go James, nothing wrong with giving these poppier albums a listen. I actually thought you'd like 'So Much Out The Way' the most. Anyway, I'll let you go back to listening to your sister's albums... Backstreet Boys, here James comes.

AtavanHalen
April 10th 2009



17927 Comments


EVERYBODDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
YEAHHHHHHHHHHH

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well at the moment she is very Ladyhawke and Killers bias.
Yes well I'm trying to be open minded as possible with my music at the present, which is working wonders!


I might review a Backstreet Boys album in the future though... Just for the laughs

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh oh, I've got 2 people hooked on the Backstreet Boys just by mentioning them. I really need to watch what I write. The Backstreet Boys & Crazy Frog reviews will be clogging up Sputnik before we know it.

Well James, kudos to your sister on the Ladyhawke bias. Believe it or not, I still haven't heard the new Killers album. Brandon Flowers is just scaring me every time I see him of late.

AtavanHalen
April 10th 2009



17927 Comments


Well at the moment she is very Ladyhawke and Killers bias.
Yes well I'm trying to be open minded as possible with my music at the present, which is working wonders!

Is your sister hot? I feel this is key to the issue.

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well agree with you on your Killers view. He has let himself go.
Ahh that would be the day... Sputnik overrun by Crazyfrog and Metal was shunned! haha

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How did I know DavID was going to take the conversation there!?

Hey DavID, you could be the leader of the 'CrazyFrog Clique'... It would sort of be our New World Order... I'd be Big Sexy of course!

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


Is your sister hot? I feel this is key to the issue.


If your into 16 year olds..

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh no, why did you have to say that James. DavID just started drooling.

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmm looks like im sending her to hide in Mexico

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, it depends if she gives you the $hits or not I guess.

Notice how DavID hasn't left a comment for a while... He's probably tracking your house down as we speak!

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nah she is 'cool dude'
Baha it wouldnt surprise me, I should not have left details on the site about my Thermos background!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Double LOL... All he has to do is sniff out the thermos with whiskey in it. Then again, doesn't everyone who is interstate think Geelong has a population of about 200?

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

At this minute im soaking my thermos in cofffee!
Yeah thats true.. just add an three extra 0's and you'll have the right pop. Everyone thinks we are footballers haha.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah, everyone thinks you all look like Cameron Ling!!!

AtavanHalen
April 10th 2009



17927 Comments


LOCK UP YOUR SISTER

LegalDuck
April 10th 2009



64 Comments


this looks pretty cool.




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