Hey there, Neo-Soul and Jazz lovers! I’m oh so happy you’ve decided to take the CHill pill this week, as the music (and magic) that I’ll be revealing to you today is especially CHill. Yes, I’m talking about the Neo-Soul genre, and yes, I’m talking about Neo-Soul songstress extraordinaire, Jill Scott.
Now, I realize that before last week I hadn’t written a single Neo-Soul or Jazz blog in over half a year; however, all of my previous blogs are intact and still available online. Last week, I asked everyone to take a look at my previous blogs to get a sense of who I am, how I write, and how the two genres have affected my life. If you haven’t already, I urge you to read them as well as listen to the music; for I would like you all to take this journey with me into the glorious, fulfilling, smooth (and at times biblical) experiences that are Neo-Soul and Jazz with all of the knowledge and zest that can be had. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been…right?
For those of you who have read the blogs, you know that I’m a big Jill Scott fan, as I have written a couple of blogs about her. She’s just an incredibly smooth talent, and if you don’t know her…please get to. Your mind will be blown to smithereens. Her prose is so captivating and her voice? Like silk. I love how there are small imperfections (as in minute, small) in her voice that tell listeners exactly who she is and how she is feeling at the moment; she’s coy when she wants to be and boisterous when the time calls for it. She’s such a dynamic singer, whose words will stick with you forever and always if you really listen and let them in.
Last June, Jill came out with her fourth album entitled, “The Light of the Sun.” It was quite a big deal when it came out, as Jill hadn’t released an album with new music for about four years. So for Jill fans, this was an important release. The album hit number one on the Billboard 200 charts, and included a great song featuring Anthony Hamilton called “So In Love” that was a summer HIT. Great song. Fun, lively, and full of love and love of life that was so needed at that time.
Point blank: Jill Scott’s newest album, “The Light of the Sun”, is an absolute masterpiece. It’s because of work like this that I call her my favorite Neo-Soul artist. The vibe is fresh and funky, even dipping into more of the R&B atmosphere, which is unlike her earlier works that were a bit mellower…and I’ll tell you why.
“Considerable” is an understatement when describing the new changes Jill has undergone since her last album (2007) that have seemingly modified her creative verve. In her personal life, she divorced her husband of six years, Lyzel Williams. She then became engaged, broke it off, but not after giving birth to her son Jett Hamilton. Business-wise, she took a four-year hiatus from music (as previously stated), left Hidden Beach Recordings (who subsequently sued her for breach of contract), took a few acting jobs, and started up a new label (Blue Babe Records).
As I said: considerable new changes.
In a brief review, the songs from “The Light of the Sun” are incredibly exploratory, fun, eloquent, and sexy. The album takes you through an intimate journey of her soul that truly defines what she has endured over the past few years. For example, “Hear My Call” portrays the vulnerability that lost love has given her, leading to her heartfelt call to God for guidance. You can definitely identify her new mentality through the lyrics. What I love about the sound is that, although there has been a radical shift in texture, she has not lost some of those spectacular chord structures that represent her authentic style. She is still Jill Scott, with the light of the sun uplifting her through her journey in life.
Jill revealed a totally different side of herself in this album. It was reported that, for many of the songs, she went into the studio with a few ideas in tow and improvised her lyrics. In doing so, we see and feel a completely new vibe coming from her. We hear her feelings about love, lost love and being a woman with principles that can be revered and challenged. There are no reservations in this album- she revealed her soul to us in romantic lines, sensual and uplifting. She demands our attention during the entire album, expressing her thoughts on subjects deemed taboo through song and spoken word (at times together), and lays it out in a way that we all can understand and appreciate. I’d like for you to take a listen to a couple of songs on the album that did not become as mainstream as “So in Love” or “So Gone (What my Mind Says).” What are these pieces saying to you?
“Making You Wait” by Jill Scott
“Missing You” by Jill Scott
Thanks for CHillin with me, and I hope you’ll be back next week, as I discuss a genre of Jazz that is not as well-received by ultimate Jazz enthusiasts.