Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jill Scott: The Real Thing [Hidden Beach, 2007]
The Aretha analogy here is her weight. The front cover has her looking dusky and curvacious, spring coat over medium decolletage; on the back she's sitting on the floor all pensive with an open composition book covering her bosom. In neither does she fake skinny, and that is as it should be. At the very least, "real thing" means something for once. Through almost as many producers as Mary, this album has a single identity, a contour and a groove that suits its well-inhabited breakup concept. There's plenty of sex before and after, and the sex has content. I don't mean emotional content, either, though I have faith the emotion is there. In her timbre, her phrasing and the words she writes in that composition book, Scott is someone for whom sex is about physical pleasure--not athletic ability, boundary transgression, novelty or dominance and submission. A-