Jill Scott, as she always has, means business. Look at the album sleeve of Woman alone: there she is, fierce and unflinching, channeling a bad-ass Annalise Keating vibe as a single word is patterned across her face. If at one point life was Golden, she’s now – in all senses of the word – very much blue.
It opens with a monologue, a lament, a lecture. Scott takes down the wanton youth of today and that Wild Cookie (read: horny poon), the choices we make, the things we blame. In Jill Scott’s voice it’s by turns funny and incisive, but it’s also a plain statement: this ain’t no youngling’s chart R&B about getting laid. No sir.
And the minute Prepared begins, it’s a sigh of relief as that soul vocal wraps itself around you, ushering you into the world of Jill Scott and all its clarity. She takes pains to tackle all aspects of he record’s title, whether it’s in the yearning freedom of that first track or the superwoman do-it-all style of Run Run Run. She plays the lover on Can’t Wait, she plays the authoritarian on Say Thank You, and she plays them all incredibly well.
Sonically, she’s as honeyed as she’s ever been. There are a few departures that don’t quite hold up, a few forays into more energetic pop, but ultimately it’s her rootsy soul that always comes up shining on tracks like Lighthouse and album standout You Don’t Know. What it leaves us with is an image of rounded femininity in all its shades and the feeling that, if we could choose to be like one woman in modern music, we’d quite like to aspire to the womanhood of Jill Scott.
Woman by Jill Scott can be ordered here.