Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds
label: Hidden Beach Recordings
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
liked Beautifully Human...
1. Warm Up
2. I'm Not Afraid
4. The Fact Is (I Need You)
5. Spring Summer Feeling
6. Cross My Mind
7. Bedda At Home
8. Talk To Me
9. Family Reunion
10. Can't Explain (42nd Street Happenstance)
12. Not Like Crazy
13. Nothing (Interlude)
15. My Petition
16. I Keep