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Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun

Jill Scott, The Light of the Sun

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

A LOT has happened to Grammy winning neo-soul singer Jill Scott since the release of her last album in 2007 – she’s been divorced, become a mum, been left by her subsequent partner and turned to acting to broaden her career.

It almost goes without saying, therefore, that her latest album, The Light of the Sun reflects all that.

She calls it empowering, having long been an advocate of empowerment. She also describes it as revealing, and can’t wait to share some of her intimate feelings with her fans.

We’d call it tedious. Yes, there are moments when the mix of soul, spoken word flow and sass combines to create some very good records. But in the main, this is a heart-on-sleeve record that sometimes forgets to deliver actual songs.

The self-satisfied tone is set from the outset with the celebratory single Blessed, in which Scott thanks God for the positive things in her life. It’s set to a good back-beat and some nice bass, but it does go on a bit.

The Anthony Hamilton featuring So In Love then arrives to offer the type of R’n‘B duet that you’ve heard countless times during the ’90s.

Fortunately, there’s a sharp slice of genuine funk on the Eve featuring Shame, which drops a hip-hop flavour and a scintillating mix of sassy vocals. You can’t help but nod in appreciation as some sharp stabs of retro brass accompany Scott’s declaration that: “I’m the magnificent.”

All Cried Out, meanwhile, showcases a dazzling slice of human beat boxing from Doug E Fresh that easily stands out as another highlight, while the hip-hop element returns for Le Boom and you start to think the album has really found its feet.

But it’s a false dawn. Thereafter, things become increasingly tedious as Scott slips into smooth grooving R&B mode and flirts with the listener without really exciting them.

The supposedly stripped back and emotionally raw Here My Call, in which she asks God to pay attention given her fears, is a low-point that belongs in a church, not a recording studio, while Quick is a break-up anthem that finds Scott going through surprise and torment in all manner of vocal styles. But, again, it doesn’t work.

Making You Wait finds her toying with a new partner with renewed confidence but singularly lacks sex appeal, Missing You once again finds her love-lorn and angsty, while Womanifesto gets back to the theme of empowerment and is a shout out to all like-minded women. But, by then, she’d pretty much lost this listener.

Download picks: Shame, All Cried Out, Some Other Time

Track listing:

  1. Blessed
  2. So In Love
  3. Shame
  4. All Cried Out Redux
  5. Le BOOM Vent Suite
  6. So Gone (What My Mind Says)
  7. Hear My Call
  8. Some Other Time
  9. Quick
  10. Making You Wait
  11. Until Then (I Imagine)
  12. Missing You
  13. When I Wake Up
  14. Womanifesto
  15. Rolling Hills