Jill Scott Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2

Jill Scott Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2
Over a musical flashback exhibiting her prodigious vocal techniques, the first sound from Jill Scott’s mouth on this new record is a big loud raspberry. While it’s nominally supposed to be part of her warm-up routine, it could also speak to Scott’s own eschewing of technically perfect yet emotively empty school of singing. While the Philadelphia-based singer has formidable pipes, she uses her voice judiciously and cites the late Minnie Riperton, a model of angelic restraint, as an inspiration; her influence is felt on the lilting "Spring Summer Feeling” and the arrangement and instrumentation of the cleverly written Bush rebuke "My Petition.” Scott’s newlywed status is also a prominent influence on this record, yet she still takes time to speak on the futility of urban violence ("Rasool”) and affirms self-love ("Golden”) while avoiding coming across as sanctimonious. There’s an inherent sincerity to her voice and when matched to lyrics that address her own faults as on "Can’t Explain (42nd Street Happenstance),” which deals with past indiscretions and "Talk to Me,” where marital communication or lack thereof, is the spark, her tangibility is only heightened. While this latter track morphs effortlessly from a mid-tempo groover into a rousing big band jazz number, this type of stylistic variation is unfortunately not as abundant as on her past material. However it is Scott’s unerring genuine honesty and wit deployed through her expressive voice that allows her to steer well clear of cloying artifice. (Epic)