Joss Stone - Introducing Joss Stone (2007)

Joss Stone
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The British soul invasion of the new millennium has rocked the domestic soul music landscape to its core. Before the arrival of Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae, there was a 16-year-old blonde-haired bohemian by the name of Joss Stone. It was 2003 when S-Curve Records released The Soul Sessions EP to critical acclaim. With direction from Betty Wright, Angie Stone and The Roots, The Soul Sessions EP quickly rose up the Billboard charts and sold over two million copies. However, skeptics harbored doubt toward the project since the EP served as a compilation of covers predominantly from the 1970s.

In 2004, S-Curve released Joss Stone's first full-length album of original material called Mind, Body and Soul. Joss was able to showcase her writing ability, although Mind, Body and Soul wasn't as successful as The Soul Sessions EP.

The British soul invasion of the new millennium has rocked the domestic soul music landscape to its core. Before the arrival of Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae, there was a 16-year-old blonde-haired bohemian by the name of Joss Stone. It was 2003 when S-Curve Records released The Soul Sessions EP to critical acclaim. With direction from Betty Wright, Angie Stone and The Roots, The Soul Sessions EP quickly rose up the Billboard charts and sold over two million copies. However, skeptics harbored doubt toward the project since the EP served as a compilation of covers predominantly from the 1970s.

In 2004, S-Curve released Joss Stone's first full-length album of original material called Mind, Body and Soul. Joss was able to showcase her writing ability, although Mind, Body and Soul wasn't as successful as The Soul Sessions EP. Now, signed to Virgin Records, Joss Stone's release Introducing Joss Stone displays a more accurate depiction of a singer/songwriter wise beyond her 20 years of age.

Introducing Joss Stone was produced by Raphael Saadiq. Judging from their nude image included in the artwork, they're romantically involved. The album itself is all about love, whether it's love for a man or love for the music. She expresses profound disbelief on one of the standout tracks entitled "Girl They Won't Believe It." Only an old soul can convey the emotion felt in the following lyric - "girl they won't believe it...that I finally found some sweet through the bitters of life...in a world where the sun's even shining inside."

Joss continues to implode with elation on the album's second single "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now." The mid-tempo groove poses an inevitable question to a newfound love, but only time can truly answer. Curiosity is also piqued on the ballad, "Proper Nice," which triumphantly samples the ‘80s R&B hit song "Catch Me (I'm Falling)" by Pretty Poison.

Music veteran Saadiq takes the album Introducing Joss Stone to places where most other contemporary R&B albums are afraid to go. It's unapologetically funky and soulful. Her collaboration with the controversial Lauryn Hill on "Music" is fairly satisfying. Joss speaks about her passion for the creative process while Lauryn does what she does best - rhyme. Unfortunately, it's tough to decipher the meaning behind her words.

On the brilliant cut "Headturner," Raphael samples the soul classic "Respect" by Aretha Franklin (Joss Stone's idol). This female anthem acknowledges the fact that she's a head-turner, but that's where most interactions with men come to an end. She says, "if you're gonna watch me walk, then watch me walk. Ya gotta earn it. Nothing in life is free, you gotta bring your love to me."

Love and change are the general themes present throughout the album Introducing Joss Stone. They're literally painted on the back of her bare legs as part of the album's artwork. For this project, Joss changed her hair color and also her previous sound. She also seems to have discovered true love with boyfriend/producer Raphael Saadiq. Her voice is electrifying. Her appreciation for both love and life shines through on every track. At the tender age of 20, Joss Stone has evolved from the naivety of her teenage years. Introducing Joss Stone presents the culmination of a woman in love...with her music as well.

By Akim Bryant

 
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