On its face, the fact that Estelle — known best for 2008 hit single "American Boy" — was returning after a three-year album layoff with a reggae album feels like novelty. But the UK singer's take on the genre is both genuine and masterful.
Lovers Rock represents her fifth album, and through tracks like "So Easy" (featuring Luke James), "Sweetly" and "Better," the artist clearly has a love and understanding what makes the genre work. Along for the ride are legit reggae stars like Konshens ("Really Want"), Tarrus Riley ("Love Like ….
Lovers Rock rewards listeners who skipped past the pop anthems, trap-styled productions, and retro-house grooves of True Romance to reach the comparatively traditional soul and reggae tracks toward that album's end. One strain of the latter genre -- indeed lovers rock, characterized by its sweet-to-bittersweet romantic lyrical themes and lithe riddims -- provides the title and key inspiration behind Estelle's fifth album. Throughout, Estelle writes in the first person, inspired by the up-and-down (and ultimately up) love story of her mother and father.