Track by track review of Jill Scott’s new album
Some people make music and some people make good music and no I don’t mean G.O.O.D music (sorry Kanye). Well Jill Scott makes great music. Shame on you if you’ve never taken the time to listen to her. If you recall, she was on my “Ode to Neo Soul” list of favourite artists and her new album The Light of the Sun proves why. This is her first offering since in 4 years and I am sure all her fans felt that gap because I surely did. But she is back and with a bang. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 135, 000 copies in the first week. The album also goes a long way for Neo Soul and feminism. I thought it would be unfair to just do a general review of the album so this is a special report card and it is a track by track review and rating of the album.
Jill Scott as an artist remains relevant because she has many sides to her. The sides that I see in her are
The sensual soulful singer,
The cheeky, sexy and confident woman who refuses to settle for less
The poet and spoken word artist.
Look out for these when you listen.
STUDENT NAME J.SCOTT
PROJECT: LIGHT OF THE SUN
1. BLESSED Jill opens the album with this upbeat and positive song. She is thankful for her life, her son, her family and music and this is apparent in this album. It is definitely a strong opening. (7/10)
2.SO IN LOVE This is the first single of the album. Scott teams up with the talented Mr Anthony Hamilton for this feel good song about being in love and happy and excited in a relationship. It’s a celebration of love and this song would be right at home on a wedding dancefloor. It’s not as good as Musiq and India Arie’s Chocolate High but still it’s a beautiful track! (6/10)
3. SHAME This song features Eve and it has this old school, 50s club feel that I found refreshing and interesting, but there is also this hip hop vibe I get from it. It reminds me of Eric B and Rakim’s Paid in Full. I love how she says “I am the magnificent,” and Eve’s verse was appropriate and well done. (7/10)
4. ALL CRIED OUT REDUX The hip hop vibe is also in this. She sings over a human beatbox which makes it very simplistic. Even the piano in the track is so simple and reminiscent of that 50’s club in Shame (6/10)
5. LE BOOM VENT SUITE Okay so I did not like this song, I just found it a bit boring and the way she keeps saying “boom, boom, is really annoying. The beat is actually not bad but I can’t listen to the song that long and mind you this song is 9 minutes long. So this is the low point of the album for me.(4/10)
6. SO GONE (WHAT MIND SAYS) Enter the sensual soulful artist! This song is neo soul at it’s very best. There is something smooth and sensual about it. She delivers one of my favourite lyrics ever when she says “Why does my body ignore what my mind says?” That is something. The track features Paul Wall who surprisingly delivers a verse that goes well with the song (I don’t think much of him). This is one of my favourites it’s actually in my top 3 of the whole album. I can listen to this over and over. A true neo soul masterpiece. (10/10)
7. HEAR MY CALL A song for the heartbroken. In this song you can clearly heal and feel Jill’s belief and faith, but at the same time you can sense the desperation that she’s feeling. This is a slow and heartfelt track. She says, “God please hear my call, I need your healing.” This is a song about someone who’s lost themself, someone who has been hurt and is feeling alone. The simple piano melody puts the religious lyrics in the forefront of the track. The way Scott sings it remings me of a Disney musical (but in a good way). This song will definitely tug at your heartstrings. (8/10)
8. SOME OTHER TIME From the slow and painful low we feel in Hear my Call, Jill Scott takes us up again. Jill Scott started off as a poet and a spoken word artist and this song is an allusion to it. She sings the chorus but in the verses she’s speaking like she’s speaking to a friend, like the listener is her friend and she’s telling you about a date she went to and how great the guy was. The beat has this chilled vibe to it but its still upbeat. Another notch to the neo soul belt. (7/10)
9. QUICK Everything about this song is quick as the name suggests. It’s short and straight to the point, all 1 minute 50 minutes of it. I think this song is about her divorce and how everything happened. As I mentioned before some of the album is improvised so I think this song is one of these and I must say she is really good, but it makes sense since she is poet. The beat is quick, she sings the song like she’s venting, it is sang very fast. Plus it has a vintage feel it, almost a Ella Fitzgerald vibe which is brilliant. (6/10)
10. MAKING YOU WAIT This song is the feminist, confident woman and the soulful singer all rolled into one. She sings it very well and the lyrics are on point but to me the beat steals the show for me. She of course carries the beat well and the beat goes well with her song. This is actually one of my favourite tracks on the album. I just love the beat and the melody and her subject matter. She’s like “I’m making you wait, I need to know if you’re worthy” This is obviously a message to females. (9/10)
11. UNTIL THEN (I IMAGINE) Jill the sensual and sexual artist reemerges with this smooth song. The opening line is, “I’m your Kitty cat, love what we do.” You can’t help but wonder who inspired this song because whoever it is a good lover(!) She’s complimenting lover and over a very smooth neo soul beat with a little piano insert that suits the song perfectly and has me pressing repeat on my music player. (10/10)
12. MISSING YOU Finally a ballad-well not really, but it comes quite close. The intro of this song is quite long and because the beat is so relaxing you might be asleep by the time the singing begins, but try not to. Again the good lover is compliment. The song has so many backing vocals but they work well with the way she sings the song and the soulful beat. It’s a good song but I find it too slow but I’m sure in a certain set up… (6/10)
13. WHEN I WAKE UP Mix of spoken word and singing. Again the beat is chilled, soulful with an old school soul feel. It’s a positive song about accepting and celebrating your struggle. It’s about moving forward and living happily and refusing to be defeated by your struggles. “When I wake up everything I went through, will be beautiful” that’s basically it. Then the song ends with an alarm clock ringing. (9/10)
14. WOMANIFESTO Here is the feminist Jill Scott who fully comes out in the last 2 tracks Light of the Sun. It is a beautiful recital about the beauty of woman and all the good things about women. She starts off saying, “clearly I’m not a fat ass, I am an active brain.” This song made me realise that every girl should have her own Womanifesto. As a wannabe feminist, this song really resonates with me and I am sure it has resonated with many other women the world over. I could go on an on about this track because it is good in so many ways but there is one more track… (10/10)
15. ROLLING HILLS “There’s power in them rolling hills,you’re prized possession not everybody’s worthy” This is the song that Scott performed at the BET awards and this was the first track from this album that I heard. There are many reasons why I adore this song, but at the top is that it’s a feminist song. Women are powerful and it’s almost like Jill Scott is trying to educate women why they are so speacial. It’s like she’s drumming it into your brain and saying “Dammit you are fabulous!!! Don’t you know that??” This song is for every girl who has felt inadequate, they need to hear this song. She really ends the album on a high note, this is an incredible song. The beat, lyrics, vocals. Everything.
LYRICAL QUALITY AND CONTENT I have never doubted that this lady is one gifted writer and this album just proves it. Every song is written thoughtfully. This is a powerful album and the lyrics are a big contributer to the power. No word, line or rhyme is out of place and the fact that she touches on feminism gives her full marks. (A+)
PRODUCTION Most of the album was produced by popular soul producer and writer JR Hutson and he produced the tracks well. The beats go well with the lyrics and the vibe of the album. The other names that lent themselves to the project include Warryn Campbell, Dre and Vidal and Kelvin Wooten. Dre and Vidal have worked with Scott on more than 10 other projects. Production also gets top marks. (A+)
VOCAL QUALITY Her voice suits her songs well and she doesn’t screech or shout. so she sang well in my books. (A)
VERDICT All in all this is a good album and I understand how it did well. Considering that soul and r ‘n’ b are not doing so well this album shows why soul is still relavant and that this woman is a titan in this genre. This is a neo soul Masterpiece.