Published Jul 24, 2015It's become apparent that the Jill Scott of old isn't coming back anytime soon, and that isn't a bad thing. The breezy, wildly optimistic paragon of positivity we were introduced to back in the early 2000s, during which she enjoyed a solid run on the vanguard of new millennium soul is gone. Today's Jill Scott has suffered love, motherhood and breakup; she muses that her life changes and experience are reflected in the music she creates moving forward.
Woman is about a totality of being: "I've been getting myself together, for what's coming to me / I just wanna be prepared," Scott croons on "Prepared," a number that borrows "Benny and the Jets"-style piano struts and an overall vibe that recalls her earlier Hidden Beach/Who is Jill Scott?-era work.
Production for Woman is handled by Andre Harris and names like 9th Wonder and David Banner. She goes brassy on the frenetic "Run Run Run," an ode to her work hustle and drive, while "Fool's Gold" is a dreamily crafted number that feels like 2000-era Jill filtered through her 2015 sensibility: "I was chasing fool's gold." "You Don't Know" goes deep into blues and gospel, "Say Thank You" and "Coming to You" mine '70s funk and electric soul and the bold "Closure" goes all proto-disco on us. "Lighthouse" maintains a modernist midtempo R&B soundscape.
Whatever Scott has gone through on an emotional level, Woman finds her at a life stage where she seemingly maintains a balance between optimism and pragmatism, a worldly perspective that informs one of her strongest full-length efforts in a minute. (Warner)