She's certainly not a proficient guitar player, and her voice sounds strained. The songs feel unfinished, and the interludes, there are about 8 or 9, take up as much time as the music. Given that Lauryn Hill released The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, a pristine body of work, just 3 years prior, this follow-up effort left many confused. 17 years later, the flaws are still there, but let's revisit the record in today's context. There are a million ways for artists to connect with the world/fans now, and many do so and share some of the most vulnerable/emotional moments with them. Back in 2001 when MTV Unplugged 2.0 was recorded, there was not. Hill could have asked for a 20-piece back-up band and ran through her biggest hits, but rather, she chooses to peel back from her pop-star self. The ideas may be underdeveloped and melodies not fully worked out, but Hill is giving her audience a direct & sincere look at the very headspace she is occupying. And in that space, she is celebrating her new-found freedom, concerned about what's going on in the world, and is dealing with personal and artistic struggles. Kanye West, who interpolated "Mystery of Iniquity" for "All Falls Down," has been using Twitter to do somewhat of the same thing to a much uglier end, but Lauryn Hill, almost 20 years ago, chose a medium that she is most comfortable and accomplished in, music. It's impossible to ignore how much her rawness resonates here, check out "I Gotta Find Peace of Mind," "The Conquering Lion," "Adam Lives In Theory," and "So Much Things to Say," which is a cover of the Bob Marley and the Wailers song of the same title.
- music label: Columbia 2002 / 2018
reviewed by pacari papi 01/19