Arts & Culture

Elle B’s EP ‘Noir’ lacks direction and originality

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Elle B’s newest EP “Noir” isn’t what you would expect from someone who’s been in the industry as long as she has. The lyrics seem young and unoriginal and while the beats are good, the sound is all over the map. Elle B has great voice and clear potential, but without solid lyrics, that talent is being wasted.

“Noir,” which means “black” in French, is a tribute to the “yin and yang” in life, according to the singer’s website. The underlying message is muddy, but many of the songs involve accepting your struggles and not letting it hold you back. The songs all revolve around a past love and it’s essentially a breakup EP.

But the lyrics aren’t compelling. It sounds like a million other songs and albums about breakups. Her lyrics sound very young and almost immature. Despite this being her second EP, Elle B’s lyrics sound like someone just entering the industry, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Her mother is a classically trained singer, and Elle B has sung backup for huge names like Stevie Wonder and Katy Perry. She had a solo show in 2007 and opened for Miguel in addition to performing on SNL. She also sung during both the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show and the Grammy’s as a backup singer.

She’s got the talent. You can hear her powerful voice in “Battle Cry” and the EP showcases the wide range of her repertoire. Elle B put out a few acoustic versions of her songs, including “Hero” and “Silhouettes,” and her voice is great. It’s powerful and soulful and she has great range, but the lyrics still aren’t strong enough to catch any attention.

The EP’s tracks are all over the place when it comes to vibes and genre. It’s not an EP you could sit down and listen to unless you were in a specific mood. Even then, the tracks are so different that while one might be exactly your vibe, the others won’t be.

Elle B has pulled influence from her time traveling as Katy Perry’s lead backup singer. “Death in Rio” has a strong Latin beat while “Giant” is a reggae track produced in Ethiopia and “Nº1” is an ode to old-school R&B music. The vibes of each song are clear. The beats perfectly showcase the style Elle B was going for in each track. But the styles are all so different and so distinct that the EP as a whole seems messy. “IOU” had the strongest beat by far and was the only track I could imagine listening to more than once. But even though the drop was good, the lyrics were still young, basic and unoriginal.

Some EPs you can listen to and hear a potential album. There’s a consistent sound and a clear flow from one track to the next. This is not the case for “Noir.” Elle B has the talent and the potential but she has to make that next leap with her music by improving her lyrics and developing a unique sound.

2 recommended
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