More concise than her three previous albums but just as varied as any of them, True Romance is Estelle's first independent full-length after phases with V2 and Atlantic and a 2013 trio of themed EPs. Five of these 11 tracks were issued separately, several months ahead of the album's February 2015 release date. Among these are some of her boldest songs, like "Make Her Say (Beat It Up)" -- all pummeling drums, sub-bass, and Estelle's droning commands, vulgar enough to purge a certain portion of her fan base. The celebratory "Something Good/Devotion," more broadly appealing, takes it back to early-'90s house like Crystal Waters' "Makin' Happy," all the way down to the synthesized horns, while the latter half is contemporary and slinkier. Estelle works through several additional emotions and tries on (and returns to) almost as many styles. There's a lavish and large-sounding empowerment anthem ("Conqueror"), a classic-sounding soul throwback ("Silly Girls"), a seductive and explicit trunk rattler ("Time Share "), some sunny reggae ("She Will Love"), and a handful of dissimilar ballads (topped by the low-key bliss of "Gotcha Love," with a possible nod to the theme for Good Times). Patched together and seemingly out-of-character as it is, the singer's fourth album does have more going for it than her third one did.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman