Water Made Us
The title of Chicago artist Jamila Woods’ third album, Water Made Us, is a subtle reference to a quote from Toni Morrison: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” It’s this ethos that runs through Woods’ first album since 2019’s LEGACY! LEGACY!, consumed with memory and place, the power of returning, and the way things change even as they stay the same—and stay the same as they change. She recruited LA-based producer McClenney to help build the album from scratch, hammering the songs to fit these themes one by one. Water Made Us boasts features from Saba, Peter CottonTale, and duendita, who assists with herR&B-soul concoctions on “Tiny Garden.” The album’s second song, “Garden” features a soul-inspired groove, delicate keyboard chords, and Woods’ upper-register voice floating above. “It’s not gonna be a big production, it’s not butterflies and fireworks/Said it’s gonna be a tiny garden, but I’ll feed it every day,” she sings. It leads the song into a chorus filled with harmonies and technicolor guitar flourishes. The moment is a snapshot of small ideas coalescing into something large, a tiny garden with the scars of history.