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Posted on August 6th, 2015 (2:00 pm) by Lucy Xiong

A perk of being late to the album review party is that you get to see what everyone else thinks before putting words down. In the case of Jill Scott’s Woman, to everyone knocking it for being “too R&B” — wtf? This album soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. Being “too R&B” is exactly what it should be and praise Jill for making it so. Does it employ more traditional R&B elements than Who Is Jill Scott?? Yes. But is it juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous and so much more? Yes! This is not Who Is Jill Scott?. This is Woman —and it is nourishment for the soul.

It opens with “Wild Cookie”, which had me with my hands up repeating amen. This cautionary spoken word about being mindful of the vagina is something girls everywhere would benefit from understanding as they move into the journey of womanhood. The fact is, there is a multitude of songs, films, books, classes, etc. out there warning men about thinking with their dicks, but other than the patriarchal commands of chastity, girls often do not get as many lessons in understanding why we shouldn’t detach from our cookies. Jill reminds us that we ought to take good care of them and understand they are vital to what makes us women. What I adore about this album is that it tells the story of womanhood from a perspective of self-care and self-growth, as well as love through a lens of self-love. Women everywhere, especially women of color, need to hear this— need to drink in Woman’s message. Your love is nourishing, needed by the world and most importantly, needed by you.

With “Prepared”, Jill illustrates the journey of checking in with your past and present selves to open yourself to becoming the future self you want to be. In “Can’t Wait”, Jill sings of the anticipation of sex as anticipation of comfort and a break from the pressures of womanhood. It transitions from a slow longing to a more upbeat playful excitement in that perfect sonic personification of feeling that Jill Scott is known for. She has always graced the world with music that elevates the beauty of sex and she does it again with this track.

“Lighthouse” is a standout track because the sentiment of wanting to be a light to the man (or person/people) you love is in many ways the spiritual epitome of womanhood. Jill sings “I am your shelter/ You’re safe from harm...Come under my love/ Feel the energy” with this entrancing melody within which she seamlessly switches between spoken and sung. Another standout is, “Fool’s Gold” where Jill describes the coming-to-terms with the reality of loving someone who betrayed you or mislead you while also taking responsibility for being in the situation.

In “Willing”, Jill delves into the double standard of what is expected from women in relationships leading into the upbeat jam, “Closure”. Complete with Jill’s famously powerful voice and a sense of humor, “Closure” encapsulates the feeling of moving on and up with lines like “There will be no more quiche.” Perhaps the most classically R&B track on the album, “You Don’t Know” is heartbreaking, nostalgic and full of soul in a way that like so much of Jill’s music pulls the feeling right out of your chest. With “Say Thank You”, Jill once again conveys a crucial life lesson — be honest with yourself and be grateful. In other words, take responsibility for your life and be a woman. “Coming To You” embodies the urgency of rushing to take care of a loved one to bring them up and comfort their suffering. Jill continues the soulful descriptions of how she loves as she winds down the album with “Jahraymecofasola” and “Beautiful Love (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)” in which she creates almost visual vignettes of how love is expressed and feels in a way that can truly be felt.

This album is definitely a grown album. It tells the story of woman. Not girl. Not person. Woman. And it absolutely succeeds. It’s not necessarily interested in the neo-soul, electronic influence and heavy fusion wave occurring in R&B at the moment because it prioritizes the storytelling part of R&B. It reminds us that music is more than always hearing something different or new or assessing patterns and trends but appreciating the story the artist is telling — sometimes utilizing the familiar is the best way to tell the story. To me, Woman takes the familiar and makes it novel by telling a story we really need to hear in a way that catalyzes new layers of feeling.

Track List:

  1. Wild Cookie
  2. Prepared
  3. Run Run Run
  4. Can't Wait
  5. Lighthouse
  6. Fool's Gold
  7. Willing (Interlude)
  8. Closure
  9. You Don't Know
  10. Pause (Interlude)
  11. Cruisin
  12. Say Thank You
  13. Back Together
  14. Coming To You
  15. Jahraymecofasola
  16. Beautiful Love (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

88 / 100
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