When music historians debate the importance of Jill Scott, aka Jilly from Philly, here’s hoping they’ll be super kind. Critically acclaimed, award-winning, platinum-selling and gifted with a voice as wide as an ocean, Scott has built a discography every bit the equal of work produced by her contemporaries. But because her career has coincided with those of Alicia Keys—the glamour girl with the made-for-TV back story (born in the ’hood; raised a classically trained pianist)—the bohemian Erykah Badu and the soul-licious India Arie, among others, she’s has to fight for her share of the spotlight.
With The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, her third solo studio project since 2000, Scott adds to her legacy. The wonderfully produced disc emphasizes her signature strengths—a powerful voice wielded like an instrument and an introspective, like-you’re-reading-my-diary approach to songwriting. She sounds very much like the divorcée she is with songs reflecting her states of mind: wanting companionship (“Whenever You’re Around”); curious about old flames (“Only You”); dreaming about bliss (“My Love”); feeling horny (“Crown Royal” and “Celibacy Blues”). Scott’s tribulations with love have made for some terrific music. Here’s hoping she finds happiness, and wider cultural acceptance.
The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3