Jill Scott is renowned for big vocals and big personality, and with her 5th Studio album, entitled Woman, she treats us to an almost winding down of both. This is a good thing. It’s allowed Scott to show off exactly why she’s got to where she is by trying something not as outright show stopping, and instead using all her abilities to create something with real longevity.
Wild Cookie is a fine introduction into the record, relying on poetic spoken word laid over addictive beats and a little bit of sass thrown in for good measure. Think Lauren Hill of the 90s but with less swearing and more heart-pouring. On the other hand Prepared takes on a more 70s feel – something akin to an Elton John track with the melody refuses to be tamed, and Scott masterfully crooning over the top. Its slow and chilled pace allow the song to blossom as the singer points out ‘I wanna be free in myself’.
Can’t Wait again draws a strong Lauren Hill vibe, but backs this up with a reggae beat, adding a more varied melody. The track also features a change of pace for the chorus that really adds another level . Fools Gold is worth a mention with its links to 90s hip-hop mixed with the present, but the standout track on the record has to be Closure. The intro winds up like a jack-in-the-box before Jill’s vocals kick in with a distinct feel of Aretha Franklin. And just like Aretha, the song draws on the empowerment of women, featuring all the fine vocal work and splendid lyrics you’d also expect: ‘Don’t be expecting your breakfast in the morning…this is closure’.
The album signs off in fine form with Crusin’; a light an airy track that guides you through a calm summer evening drive and brings you back down to earth after the mix of genres and emotions that proceed it. Jill has really managed to get something personal and powerful out of this record, and laid it bare for all to see. The singer skilfully pulls the mix of music together, and therefore makes it feel like a complete album rather than a mish-mash of different styles. Woman is a fine example of how to nurture a record from beginning to end, and is a career highlight for this wonderful artist.