Jill Scott The Light of the Sun Review

Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A lovely, bittersweet album that celebrates the joy of life.

Daryl Easlea 2011

The Light of the Sun feels like the sort of album made by someone who’s busy doing something else: in Jill Scott’s case her acting, bringing up her child and recovering from a broken heart. This doesn’t mean, however, that it feels as if her music is taking second place to all these other matters. In fact, the album feels like the rush of somebody being able to celebrate/commiserate while on the run. Hence the album has a looseness, an unfinished air, and it revels in its spontaneity. There is studio chatter and laughter left on the tape, capturing a freewheeling vibe.

Opener Blessed is a lovely, touching tribute to her son – with lines such as "I love the studio, but I love him more," it is a sincere celebration of motherhood. So In Love, a sweet and sprightly duet with Anthony Hamilton, is sun-kissed radio-friendly soul that references the past and showcases her beautiful voice.

Shame, which features Eve, works with a soupcon of the goodtime bluebeat of Shame, Shame, Shame by Shirley & Company and gives it a killer shuffle. Doug E. Fresh, the human beatbox, pops up on Scott’s sassy street strut All Cried Out Redux. Missing You has a wafting insouciance that has the makings of becoming a quiet-storm classic; this lazy vibe is continued on When I Wake Up. Womanifesto is incredible: it takes the listener back to her poet roots, outlining the attributes of womanhood with a sassy rap.

There is a real sadness here too, though. Hear My Call is where Scott’s mask of positivity slips. It is a straight prayer, which sounds not unlike Kate Bush or Prince at their most pensive. Quick ("The way it happened / The way you left me") reflects on the breakdown of her relationship; yet a song of such pathos is delivered with a sprightly jazz bounce to sugar the pill, and clocks in at just under 2 minutes.

At times The Light of the Sun veers towards self-indulgence, and some of its ideas are not fully followed through. On the whole, however, it is a rather lovely, emotional album that provides a beguiling snapshot of the current life of Jill Scott.

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