Review Summary: Older, sexier, and more confident- Jill sharpens her most vital tools on fourth studio album.
Jill Scott’s last studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, was released in September 2007. She abandons the ‘Words and Sounds’ volume and continues creating rich organic music on The Light of the Sun. Jill has always been known for her powerhouse vocals and thought-provoking poetry that comprises her lyrics. Her music grows with her maturation, but doesn’t lose its youthful edge.
She’s playful on “Shame” and “All Cried Out Redux,” yet most of the album’s tracks exhibits her musical and personal maturity. The lead single, “So In Love,” features fellow soul singer Anthony Hamilton, a duet that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but is reminiscent of the natural heartfelt chemistry between Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.
The Light of the Sun also features some of Jill’s signature spoken-word poetry, which was casually used on her debut album. On “Some Other Time” she contemplates whether a new love interest is worth her time. “Womanifesto,” as its title implies, explores her personal empowerment as a woman.
The tone that is carried throughout the album is a confident one. With 11 years into her professional recording career, Jill has managed to win three Grammys and maintain a successful acting career. She isn’t the same woman she was in 2000, and that confidence shows on her fourth studio album. But with her confidence is also the humble timidity and sweetness that fans fell in love with from the beginning. Her sophistication and class shines, but she has never been ashamed to express her affection for hip-hop. “All Cried out Redux” features hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh beatboxing to Jill’s jazzy vocals; “Shame” features fellow Philadelphia native Eve. But the album’s most surprising collaboration features Paul Wall on the extremely grown and sexy “So Gone (What My Mind Says).”
The album’s longest track, “Le BOOM Vent Suite,” clocks in at 9 minutes, a jazz-inspired soulful jam that re-creates the extended performances common at neo-soul concerts. “Hear My Call” is The Light of the Sun’s quietest song, but one of the most intriguing in Jill’s career. With any other artist, the ballad could be interpreted as being corny, but Jill gives it the sensuality and passion that demands listeners to feel the words she pushes from her lips.
The Light of the Sun is arguably Jill’s best album since Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. It appeals to a mature audience, but have the power to gain the affection of people across multiple generations. Alongside her bohemianism and eclectic style is a fierce performer who really doesn’t have to prove much, but will sing as if she does anyway. She has always been a shining example of creativity in urban music, and will remain to be the light in a music industry that grows darker and darker in quality and substance.