Song No. 651: “Golden” by Jill Scott - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Throughout the 885 Greatest Songs By Women (As Chosen By You!) countdown, we’ll take you on deeper dives into select songs that pop up each day.

If you want to watch the mood of a room instantly transform, put on “Golden” by Jill Scott. Practically any crowd, any place, any time will light up to this infectious neo-soul anthem.

But perhaps “neo-soul” is a limiting term to put on it; that musical movement, rooted on the east coast in the late 90s and early 00s with a stronghold right here in Philly, was all about stretching out — slow tempos, gentle instrumentation, expansive runtimes, contemplative lyrics that build and bloom and become more emphatic. It’s a genre of heartfelt personal truths, and if you could speak those truths it in under five minutes, you maybe weren’t saying enough.

“Golden” is born out of that sound, but it finds Scott picking up the pace with an almost discofied bump. She’s excited, she’s loud, she’s full of joy and happiness as she sings of self-empowerment, self-love, not allowing others to dictate your life. It’s a love song to oneself, and it’s an uplifting message that transcends genres, geographies, and personalities.

At the same time, “Golden” is very much a woman’s anthem, and very much a Black woman’s anthem. In a WXPN roundtable discussion about the music and art of Jill Scott, singer-songwriter Sug Daniels put it expertly: “When I listen to ‘Golden,’ as an adult, it’s just a good song, it feels good in your body, it’s like you’ve got the top down, the sun is out. But she’s really prophesying, she’s really claiming her happiness, she’s saying ‘this belongs to me.’ I feel like as Black women, sometimes we don’t think about happiness, we think about survival. So to hear a Black woman being like ‘I’m taking my freedom.’ it really hit me, it really touches me.”

Jill Scott - Golden
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