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The Light of the Sun (Deluxe Version)

Jill Scott

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Album Review

Jill Scott has been through many changes since 2007's The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3: a divorce, a brief but intense love affair that produced a child, acting roles in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Hounddog, her starring role in HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and signing with Warner Bros. The Light of the Sun is a record of the rocky road to empowerment. Scott and Lee Hutson, Jr. are the album's executive producers; they also collaborate in songwriting and arrangements on numerous selections. Opener "Blessed," produced by Dre & Vidal, kicks it off in slippery, hip-hop soul style; a harp, strings, and a fluttering dubwise bassline underscore the shuffling rhythm. Scott expresses spoken and sung gratitude for and about her new baby, career, life, and support system. Poetry and song are woven with elegance in a nocturnal groove. The hit pre-release single "So in Love," produced by Kelvin Wooten, is a modern Philly soul fan's dream, with its lithe, fingerpopping bassline, shimmering drums, and seeming bliss arising between Scott and Anthony Hamilton, who turn in a grand duet performance. "Shame" (featuring Eve & the A Group), is grand, old-school funk with killer backing vocals that range from P-Funk-esque vocal choruses to doo wop with sampled classic ska as Scott raps defiantly with Eve. One of the sleepers on the set is the stunning "La Boom Vent Suite," a sultry number produced by Scott and Hutson. It's a militant, funky soul, kiss-off tune, that declares: "I've been waiting for so long/but somebody else has been sniffing at my dress." "Hear My Call" is literally a prayer for healing; with its elegantly arranged strings, it's as heartfelt and humble as desperate need can be. There is one misstep here: "So Gone (What My Mind Says)" didn't require Paul Wall's tired, generic, boastful rapping to work. That said, the rhythm collision with human beatbox Doug E. Fresh on "All Cried Out Redux," complete with ragtime piano sample, is a novelty number that works. After the album's first third, it's all Scott, and (mostly) all sublime. The sparsely produced "Quick" (produced by Wayne Campbell) records the heartbreak in the brief relationship that produced her son. "Making You Wait" is another self-determination anthem that addresses romance, with spacious Rhodes and synth strings weaving beats together. Scott lays down the spoken word "Womanifesto" that recalls the poetry of her early career, just before the steamy, sexual "Rolling Hills" touches on jazz, blues, and late-'70s soul with effortless ease to close it. On The Light of the Sun, Scott sounds more in control than ever; her spoken and sung phrasing (now a trademark), songwriting, and production instincts are all solid. This is 21st century Philly soul at its best.

Biography

Born: 04 April 1972 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A mature R&B vocalist who excelled most with slower, sensual material ("Slowly, Surely," "I'm Not Afraid," "My Love") and was versatile enough to pack plenty of punch with anthems of pride and self-empowerment ("Golden," "Family Reunion," "Hate on Me"), Jill Scott grew up in north Philadelphia and began her performing career reading her own poetry. She was heard by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, drummer in the Roots, who invited her to join the band in the studio, resulting in the co-composition...
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The Light of the Sun (Deluxe Version), Jill Scott
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