Jill Scott: The Real Thing—Words and Sounds, Vol. 3

Jill Scott is undeniably one of the most popular constituents of the Neo-Soul movement. On her third studio album, there’s proof of her seven-year stint as a recording artist. The album cover is the first where her face is shown as it looks in the present (her first was the top of her head, the second was a childhood picture), and she’s going out—with the door open and purse in hand. The Real Thing: Words and Sounds, Vol. 3 (Hidden Beach) definitely poses the question: Where is Jill going? Her divorce and her starring role in Tyler Perry’s new film speak volumes on the new emotional and professional territory that she’s had to voyage through.“Let It Be” opens The Real Thing with a powerful statement—“If Classical, Country Mood, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Whatever it is, let it be.” Jill makes it easy to keep the open mind. This new repertoire of songs demonstrates that even after an ending of a marriage there’s a new beginning, and if you’re lucky, a new sexual awakening. The jazz-blue influenced “Celibacy Blues” can make any woman feel that longing, wherever they are listening. With a line like, “I get some new batteries almost every night,” it’s thought provoking for anyone paying heed, and that’s the thing about Scott. She proves that candor is more provocative than any suggestive song lyric.Scott’s music can be rendered a bit “female-centric” but, like on her other albums, she proves that her writing is more about human connections. “Hate On Me” is a universal memo for those haterade drinkers. On “Whenever You’re Around” she confesses to her lover that she’s built an emotional relationship with another man. Five tracks on The Real Thing are under two minutes, which shows Jill’s capacity and talent in concisely saying what she wants. “Crown Royal” is amazingly simplistic. While this latest album also carries less Hip-Hop tinged beats that were prevalent in Beautifully Human; there’s a new element of Hip-Hop that she brings to this new project, and it’s in the lyrical arrangements. In “Epiphany” she raps through the most potent part of the songs.So, where is Jill going? She’s obviously still on that voyage, like we all are. She just gets to write songs about having sex, and lack thereof. Jill Scott delivers another home-run, not as classical as The Real Thing predecessors, but it’s just as rich and filled with Scott’s brand of R&B, with a new a twist. The Real Thing speaks on that revolution that might occur after a break-up or a divorce—it’s about life’s constant change.SOUNDCHECK:Jill Scott "Crown Royal"Jill Scott "Epiphany"