I was never crazy about the terms Neo-soul or Grown Folks Music, I much rather refer to those 2 as SOUL and GOOD music, with yanno...actual lyrics that mean something and actual instruments that play in the background...It was always funny to me how something so authentic and organic was the one that required a sub category while the artificial and manufactured didn't..But after listening to "The Real Thing" i kinda thought to myself...."I wouldn't want Jill to be grouped with that other bullshit ANYWAY"
Real Thing is Jill's 3rd studio album since her 2004 effort "Beautifully Human", and for many who have listened would argue that this its her best since her CLASSIC 2000 debut "Who is Jill Scott"...why? you ask... Jill brings back the sass thats why! her first single "Hate on me" is the 2007 upgrade to "gettin in the way" in many ways, clearly not for the obvious reasons, but it brings back a Jill we all knew and loved, that sadly didn't show in Beautifully human, aswell as an overall feel of cohesiveness (admit, BH was was kind of all over the place). The song "Only you" also Jogs the memory of vintage Jill, with its laid back delivery and melodic piano.
With recent personal changes in Jill's life (shes divorced from her husband who inspired many of the classic tracks from her debut album) As a fan i expected for it to effect her sound in some way.... but that hasnt gotten her down one bit, its gotten her HORNY...someone please WIPE HER DOWN!...On songs like "Crown Royal" where she says "Your hands on my hips pull me right back to you, i catch that thrust give it right back to you, your in me so deep im breathin for you". With lyrics like this, it a pretty good indication that shes not sittin at home cryin while listening to the best of Phyllis Hyman. "All I" carries on the sensual mature vibe of crown royal and shows that this album, altho not necessarily considered "grown folks music" is definitely directed toward those who can appreciate not only good music but know what the hell shes talking about!! (and NO, lamont passin u a "do u like me? yes or no" note in homeroom doesnt mean uve experienced the ups and downs of love)
The one (of MANY) stand out tracks for me on the album is "Celibacy Blues" which is a bluesy type of track that delivers some sexual innuendos beautifully, without making you feel all....nasty, and shows off Jill's talent and love for writing (any one that can fit "he aint scratchin it right" in a song and have it NOT sound like a Crime Mob track should get some sort of award). "Epiphany" is delivered with a spoken word style, that Jill is genius, over a heavy percussive beat thats infectious and provides the first half of the album a slight upbeat rejuvenation and then slides into everyones current favorite "My Love". This song is reason enough to buy the album, but more so than anything shows the versatility in Jills talent, being able to display the power of love ("he loves me" anyone?) aswell as showing off what happens when things go south, SUCCESSFULLY. We all kno thats not an easy feat for EVERYONE, some cant do it AT ALL, while some can..but not too well (QQN @ Mary)...All in all i think that this album is one of the far more superior SOUL albums of the year...nothing neo, grown or sub category about it, pure vintage soul at its finest with every intention to make you love it, and love.... love.
I give "The Real Thing" 4 1/2 hotcombs out of 5...just because of that damn album cover
Now head over to VH1s The Leak and take a listen to "The Real Thing" for yourself..and
remember the album is In stores September 25th