Remember this song? Back in 2008, “American Boy,” from British R&B diva Estelle’s sophomore album, Shine, made a sizable splash on this side of the pond. In the same manner that is usually followed by 9 out of 10 disco-pop blips, Estelle has yet to be heard from again in the United States. That being said, it’s time to pause and remember what a phenomenal song this was.
Let’s be honest – Estelle doesn’t really have the strongest R&B voice in the world, she won’t be giving Adele or Beyonce a run for their money any time soon. However, her playful speak-sing delivery, complimented by her British accent, is perfect for this track. The beat in this song is unstoppable, created from a few minor guitar chord changes and thumping synths. Plus, this has to be one of Kanye’s best guest spots of all-time. Fortunately, Estelle has the good sense to bring him around twice, in both the introduction and the bridge. Is it a musical masterpiece? Certainly not. But as far as dance-pop is concerned, it’s a magnificently crafted, addictively catchy tune that will surely be stuck in your head for hours. You’re welcome.
Editor’s Note (by Jack): Zach picked a classic track here, but he neglected to mention its defining moment. After the second chorus, right around the 2:41 mark, Estelle introduces Kanye’s part with THE MOST UNINTELLIGIBLE GIBBERISH EVER. I know she’s British, but I don’t think anybody on Earth could decipher her mumbles. My freshman year roommates (@403South) examined it extensively, eventually deciding that she says”tell me wha blah now,” which quickly became a catchphrase. If any of you readers have a better idea, or better yet if you know Estelle personally and can ask her, then please leave a comment with your translation. Thank you.