Jamila Woods – Water Made Us (2023) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Jamila Woods – Water Made Us (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:11 minutes | 903 MB | Genre: Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Jagjaguwar

On her expansive new album Water Made Us, Chicago musician and poet Jamila Woods shines anew as she asks the question, what does it mean to fully surrender into love? Across Water Made Us, Jamila embraces new genres, playful melodies, and hypnotizing wordplay, as she wades through the exhilarating tumult of love’s wreckage and refuge. While 2017’s HEAVN saw Jamila celebrating her community within a lineage of Black feminist movement organizing, and 2019’s Legacy! Legacy! reframed her life’s experiences through the storied personas of iconic Black and brown artists, Water Made Us is self-revelatory in an entirely new way, making this her most personal album yet. Made together with LA-based producer McClenney, and boasting features from longtime friends and Chicago natives such as Saba and Peter CottonTale, Water Made Us is a sprawling and intimate portrait of self-reflection, cleverly designed to echo the different stages of a relationship: the early days of easy compromising, flirtatiousness, and fun; the careful negotiation through moments of conflict or hurt; the grieving of something lost; and the tender realization at the end of it all that the person who is gone never really leaves, but stays with you as you find yourself ready to try again, refreshed and reassured.

On 2019’s Legacy! Legacy!, Chicago artist Jamila Woods explored Black cultural history with songs named for James Baldwin, Muddy Waters, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Michel Basquiat and other towering figures. With her third album, the R&B poet is taking a more personal approach, tracking the cycle of an intimate relationship and what she has described as her “search for love.” The title Water Made Us is a reference to the words of Toni Morrison, who said, “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” Glistening with heavenly strings, easygoing “Bugs” explores a beginning apprehension and unrealistic expectations, weighing how this new person smokes too much (“I can’t stand the smell of it/ I breathe it in, it makes me sick”) but also: “You treat me like a queen … I don’t know how I feel about it.” Woods then switches to a spoken inner dialogue, telling herself, “Someone will break your tiny little rules/ Chew too loud, talk too much/ Someone will jump fully clothed into the moat you dug outside/ It’s not that deep/ Lower the stakes of your love/ Why not have pleasure on the way to The One, or the second One?” Indie soul-flavored “Tiny Gardens” features Duendita and finds Woods offering the promise of love, but “It’s not butterflies of fireworks/ Said it’s gonna be a tiny garden/ But I’ll feed it every day.” Hers is a real, true, grown-up view of romance, not the usual idealization of pop songs. There are moments of jealousy (“Backburner”) as well as falling hard (the New Power Generation-style ballad “Send a Dove”) and dealing with old wounds (“Wreckage Room”). There is also self-reflection, as on folky “Wolfsheep,” about trying to figure out what drew her to someone who caused pain, but also what she’s putting out there that attracted this type. Produced with members of Chance the Rapper’s crew, including Peter CottonTale and Nate Fox, the record covers cafe pop (“Practice,” with smooth-flow guest rhymes by Saba), lush slow jams (“Thermostat”), bouncy soul (“Boomerang,” with its twinkling twilight bridge) and spoken poetry: “I Miss All My Exes” romanticizes the best memories of past lovers (who smell of “argan oil, rosewater, sweat”) and their tender care (“who bring homemade salad to my grandma’s house … who make sure I have winter boots”), as well as also their faults (“who yell too loud/ who drink too much”). Throughout, snippets of conversation with family, friends and even a tarot reader help steer the theme, as Woods questions when to stay or leave. When things get rocky, though, she’s not ready to give up (“The good news is, we were happy once/ The good news is, water always runs back,” she sings on breezy “Good News”) and, by the dreamy end (“Headfirst”), she’s reassuring, “Come in, the water’s warm/ I won’t hurt you”—perhaps offering promise to herself as well as the object of her affection. – Shelly Ridenour

1-1. Jamila Woods – Bugs (03:21)
1-2. Jamila Woods – Tiny Garden (04:11)
1-3. Jamila Woods – Practice (03:14)
1-4. Jamila Woods – let the cards fall (00:43)
1-5. Jamila Woods – Send A Dove (03:56)
1-6. Jamila Woods – Wreckage Room (03:19)
1-7. Jamila Woods – Thermostat (03:01)
1-8. Jamila Woods – out of the doldrums (00:35)
1-9. Jamila Woods – Wolfsheep (02:57)
1-10. Jamila Woods – I Miss All My Exes (01:57)
1-11. Jamila Woods – Backburner (03:29)
1-12. Jamila Woods – libra intuition (00:14)
1-13. Jamila Woods – Boomerang (03:02)
1-14. Jamila Woods – Still (03:02)
1-15. Jamila Woods – the best thing (00:33)
1-16. Jamila Woods – Good News (03:03)
1-17. Jamila Woods – Headfirst (04:24)


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