Search The Line of Best Fit
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Jamila Woods pairs harmony with righteousness throughout Water Made Us

"Water Made Us"

Release date: 13 October 2023
Jamila Woods Water Made Us cover
13 October 2023, 09:00 Written by Noah Barker

There is a denouement of clarity amidst the confessionals and therapy sessions of Water Made Us stowed away in the form of a most peculiar thing: a dance.

As pining and balladeering dominate the tracklist, so much is learned of Woods from the straightforward dance pop of “Boomerang” that one should rightly wonder why such a simple premise is given climax status this late in the experience. As Woods uses the track to contemplate letting a situation dance over the song’s own beat with her, it becomes resolutely clear: work has to be done before moments can be simple.

As audio recordings and voicemails dominate all that once was of the mighty interlude, Woods uses them as opportunities for insight. “I Miss All My Exes” and “out of the doldrums” appear as moments of hard-fought reality in the tracklist; they are direct calls to action or statements of self among the fantastical beauty of their enclosing ballads. The former stands out for its stunning neutrality in life’s misfortune, as even a former lover can be an oasis of revealing truths about oneself. The past, and all of its inhabitants, is not something to regret or rejoice, it just happened. The way it did might just be wise beyond its time.

To begin a review with the climax and takeaway may be shoddy conceptualization anywhere else, but in terms of Water Made Us, its defining light is the aftertaste after an already sumptuous experience, like a scented bubble bath that follows you to work. Its songs themselves meet the expectations of its predecessor Legacy! Legacy!, stunning vocal chops and all, but maybe not an inch more. If anything, the listener may wish for the tighter concepts and more harrowing atmospheres of that record's tracklist, but Water Made Us still arrives with grace. It is the horizon where the former was the earth; blue-green where the former was steely grey; forward-facing where its sister was rooted.

One aspect of Woods that has grown more apparent with every release is her steadfast self-confidence, but not to say anxiety doesn’t have its moments. The virtue of self-examination within those tumultuous times is a sacred ability to Woods and displayed en masse in Water Made Us. Between analyzing her own recent past with the empathy and allowances of an emotional anthropologist and the lazy precision of the grooves, Woods pairs harmony with righteousness like the inextricable twins they are.

“Boomerang,” as it appears 90 per cent of the way through the listen, is twice the BPM of the rest of the tracklist and consists mostly of its truly indelible hook repeated ad nauseam; for what it is, I could dance to it until my landlord pulls my electricity, but for what it represents, and for the type of self-assurance she previously pined for realized here, it makes me believe a dance is more than just a dance. It’s a negotiation, an admittance, a reconnection, and the point.

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