Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 Album reviews.
Release Date: 08.31.04
Record label: Hidden Beach Recordings
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
Going the Wrong Direction
by: matt cibula
This is one of those reviews that I don't really want to write. I don't like slagging records, especially when I respect the people who made it. And I always end up getting all these emails telling me I just don't get it, I'm a stupid fool, I wouldn't know a good album if it bought me a drink and kept touching its hair, etc. Some people LOVE going negative, but I don't.
But sometimes I must. It's my job. So I'm going to talk some mess about this, but I have to say first that I love Jill Scott. She's awesome. My friend Jesse summed it up when he said that she's like the young drama teacher that every senior has a crush on. That's it perfectly, except that I'm older than her. She's intelligent and soulful and sexy and honest and talented. I really want her to succeed.
But I honestly think this album takes her in the wrong direction. Who Is Jill Scott? was a good start with some overreaching, Experience 826+ was hot live stuff with some okay extra tracks, so she needed to come hard and funky and complex with this one, and she didn't. The voice is great, the soul and craft are here for sure, but the approach is fuzzy and condescending and half the songs walk the line between kind of interesting and kind of boring.
Which leaves half a cool album. If things had started at "Bedda at Home," a jazzy sexy thing along the lines of Erykah Badu's "See You Next Lifetime" (a.k.a. "you're hot but you remind me of my man who's even better so smell you later"), continued through "Talk to Me" (boudouir light funk with that insane switch halfway through to big band jazz!) and "Family Reunion" (man that fake-vinyl track running through everything has to GO though) and "Whatever" and all the more uptempo tougher tracks like that, and then went back to put in some of the sssslllloooowwwweeeerrrr things even, then there would have been some more stars up there on top from me. Because that stuff is tight. I'd even like the weak tea of "Golden" after some of these bangers.
But we don't review theoretical albums. As it is, we start with some of the goopiest tracks of the year. "I'm Not Afraid" contains all the elements of a song but doesn't feel like one. "Cross My Mind" is just confused: we hear about how great old boyfriend was, but then all of a sudden he wasn't right for her and she wasn't right for him, and I'm all like "damn, what did I miss?" "Spring Summer Feeling" has a lot of sentiments about how "it takes more than diamonds to woo me" but that just sounds like "diamonds aren't expensive enough for me, get me something else too little man" to these ears, there's no transition about how the guy in the verses relates to the choruses. Maybe I'm not too bright, but it sounds slapped together to me.
And don't start me on "The Fact Is (I Need You)," which seems to be a "call to action" for black men to get their shit together so they can raise their kids-not being a black man, I have nothing to say about this, but it sounds like someone's been reading a WHOLE LOT of Alice Walker lately. Or the ultra-sultry "I Keep," which is just boring enough to be a self-help manual. Or the bonus track, where she just drops the pretense and states, "I am the great orgasm."
This is not the way I needed Jill Scott to go. She's sexier and tougher and funnier and realer and more necessary when she deals in specifics rather than these kind of "Golden" generalities. Anyone could do that stuff, Ms. Scott. You need to be real and LEAD. 06-Oct-2004 10:03 PM