mon 01/03/2021

CD: Jill Scott - Woman | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jill Scott - Woman

CD: Jill Scott - Woman

The neo-soul queen on charming form on her fifth studio album

'Charm, wit and bravura voice': Jill Scott

Jill Scott albums should, in theory, be a bit of a chore. Everything about them, this one included, is like listening to a life coach: positive affirmations, exhortations to self-care, expressions of gratitude to the universe, homely snippets of advice... It's all so wholesome you almost feel as if it should be printed in a curly script over tranquil beach scenes and shared on your more uncomplicated school friends' Facebook feeds. Almost.

Jill Scott albums should, in theory, be a bit of a chore. Everything about them, this one included, is like listening to a life coach: positive affirmations, exhortations to self-care, expressions of gratitude to the universe, homely snippets of advice... It's all so wholesome you almost feel as if it should be printed in a curly script over tranquil beach scenes and shared on your more uncomplicated school friends' Facebook feeds. Almost.

In fact, Scott pulls off the miraculous, and makes all these homilies not just bearable but really uplifting. This is, after all, the singer who turned the phrase “living my life like it's golden” into a classic for the ages. It helps that she's a beat poet of quite some skill, channelling the spirit of 1970s conscious soul poetry and giving the lyrics finesse and style that save them from banality. It helps that her persona is warm and witty. But mainly it's the fact that she can still sing the birds down from the trees that really elevates this stuff.

This album isn't quite as inventive as 2011's The Light of the Sun. With a couple of exceptions, like the rolling drum machines of “Lighthouse” and the sultry synths and fingerclicks of “Cruising”, it's all very trad soul in its instrumentation, a bit – dare I say it – Jools Holland. But again, as with the wholesomeness of the lyrics, Scott's charm, wit and bravura voice take it well beyond the realm of pastiche or musical comfort food. The album is brilliantly structured, with no slack despite its generally laidback demeanour, and by the time it reaches a hollering, gospel-fuelled climax on “Coming to You”, you'd have to be emotionally unwell not to get swept up in it.

She's a beat poet of quite some skill, channelling the spirit of 1970s conscious soul poetry

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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