Jill Scott

Beautifully Human (Hidden Beach Recordings)

Upon their first spin of Scott's latest, many listeners will miss the lightning lurking within the quiet storm. Her new disc initially seems too laid-back and subtle, but it eventually reveals itself to be a complex portrait of a woman who doesn't need to shout to exhibit her strength.

Throughout the CD, dramatic tension is generated by the push and pull between Scott's instinct for independence and her romantic impulses. In "The Fact Is (I Need You)," for instance, she juxtaposes expressions of desire with a list of chores she can handle solo; while announcing that "I can stain and polyurethane," she sounds like she's auditioning for Trading Spaces: The Musical. Still, there are other ways to improve the home, as she makes clear during "Whatever," a tune that finds her so overwhelmed with her lover's prowess that she offers to make him some fish and grits afterward. That's why they call it soul food.

Beautifully Human reveals its charms slowly, but experiencing them is definitely worth the wait.

 
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