While not as catchy as her first, it's still worth a try
rmcrae | Houston, Texas | 12/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After releasing her debut "Who Is Jill Scott?", Jilly from Philly took a 4 year break from music and married her long time boyfriend, Lyzel Williams. In 2004, she returned to the music scene with her 2nd album "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2". On this album, Jill is love drunk and not afraid to shout it from the rafters. This is a good and not so good thing.
It was great for her that she got to marry her man, but the theme of marital love is focused on too heavily. It's also more laidback. Another reviewer described it perfectly when he/she said that her first album is the "daytime", while this one is "night". It's not the type of music to throw on at a party, but is great for relaxing by yourself or with a partner. When I first bought the album, I played it a total of 2 times and then put it away. When listening to it while taking a nap a month later, I realized just how good it is.
On the intro "Warm Up", Jill blows raspberries, hums, and laughs knowing she's at the top of her game. "I'm Not Afraid" with it's unique, silvery beat and message of pure devotion is a winner. "Golden", the first single, sets the tone for the over all "beautifully human" theme and enjoyment of life. Jill must have been listening to Stevie when writing this song, because it reminds me alot of "As". Warning: there is no other song on this album like "Golden". The other songs are great, but none are as upbeat.
"The Fact Is (I Need You)" with it's heavenly harp and dreamy background talks about how men are not needed to complete a woman's life, but needed to be loved and cherished. "I can even raise the child we'll make, make sure he's loved and knows what God gave us. I can teach him how to walk and stand, but he needs you to help him be a man." Powerful and true. The aptly titled "Spring Summer Feeling" envelops the listener. It is here that Minnie Ripperton's influence on Jill becomes obvious, whistle register and all.
"Cross My Mind" is a grown folks song. If you've ever run across an ex and suddenly flirted with the idea of getting back with them, you will relate to this spoken word/piano led song. Thankfully Jill comes to her senses at the end of the song and sticks with her man. "You're the kind that turns my head and makes me look. You're the kind that makes me pull single dollars out my pocketbook", Jill sizzles on "Bedda at Home". The man may be fine and all, but she quickly reminds herself that what she's got at home is worth more than anything with him. Jill really lets it rip by the end of the song.
On "Talk To Me", Jill tries to understand why her man is being cold to her and tries different things to make him comfortable and open up. It starts off with a 70s groove and flips halfway to a 30s big band production. I've never heard anything like it before. Next comes "Family Reunion" and I know that everybody, black or white, has at least one family member like the ones described here. From funny drunk Aunt Juicy to the whole family grooving to Frankie Beverly on the stereo, this jam will have you reminiscing and maybe even getting your own family together.
"Can't Explain" breaks up the lovey dovey marathon. Jill pulled an Amy Winehouse and cheated. While Amy would whip up some excuse for her infidelity, Jill feels bad for what she did and begs her ex to not "give up on love because of what I did to you". Despite her obvious regret, the music sounds dreamy and starry eyed. One of the best songs on the entire album. "Whatever"'s bass beat melts like chocolate with it's occasional wah wah guitar accents. Jill's man laid it down last night and he's got her wrapped around his finger. Baby makin' music at it's best.
"Not Like Crazy" could very well be a sequel to "He Loves Me". The beat to this song slowly bounces like a ball and reminds me of a more subdued version of Raheem Devaughn's "You". Jill can't explain why she goes crazy ("not like you belong in an asylum crazy") for her husband, but she just does. From the day they met, it was obvious that he was the one for her. Jill tries on a more whispery voice that would put Mariah to shame. Definitely one of my top favorites.
Jill is probably the only artist who has listenable interludes. "Nothing is more beautiful, than loving you, holding you, being next to you, kissing your lips, taking my time with you." This could have been a full length song. "Rasool", a song about a boy in Jill's hood who meets an untimely end due to gang violence, is good, but jarring amongst a set of love songs.
"My Petition" pretty much sums up the past 8 years in this country. Masked as an acoustic song to a no good boyfriend, Jill hits out at the government for not doing what they say they will. "I want fresh foods, clean water, air that I don't see. I want the feeling of being safe on my streets, I want my children to be smarter than me. I want to feel free." Most if not all can nod their heads in agreement to those wishes. I love the beginning of "I Keep". The quiet guitar and spacey music conjure up images of an island. It's pretty much the softer version of "Hate On Me", the lead single off her latest album. Jill understands that there are people out there who "wanna break you down, steal your crown, use and abuse you", but she keeps "moving forward, pressing onward, striving further". The operatic hidden track "Still Here" closes out an enjoyable album.
While I can't push play and listen to all of the songs like her debut, this is still an album that I like to relax to every now and then."