Artist: Joss StoneTitle: Introducing Joss StoneRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli
After listening to Joss Stone’s third album Introducing Joss Stone (EMI/Virgin), one thing becomes clear. Joss Stone can’t sing, she can sang. Laced with tales of heartache, revival, and maturity, the album can only be considered an Introduction, as it’s our first glimpse into who the young songstress really is. When her debut The Soul Sessions was released, the world met a young girl in love with the music of her favorite artists. Mind, Body, & Soul continued the realization that Joss’ flawlessly raspy vocals carried multiple influences creating one solid singer. With Introducing Joss Stone we meet a young woman, in love with music- her own music- clearly expressed through her penning of lyrics eons before her time.
The apropos introduction “Change” features actor Vinnie Jones and his explanation that “we’re born to change.” The first track, “Girl They Won’t Believe It,” hosts a 60’s vibe with only one dreamgirl. One is all we need, as Joss dominates the song seductively over electric guitars and intentionally offbeat patterns. Leading into “Headturner,” a funky rock track reminiscent of The Brand New Heavies, Raphael Saadiq’s instrumentation becomes very apparent, as it does on “Proper Nice” and “Put Your Hands On Me.” The singles, “Tell Me ‘Bout It” and “Tell Me What We Gonna Do Now (featuring Common)” offer two different sides of Joss deserving of recognition: the belting balladeer who’s funky enough to rock out, but soulful enough to melodically mold into Hip-Hop. “Arms of My Baby” delivers a beat that rises and falls as Joss’s voice matches it. The horn-heavy track is perhaps the most experimental on the album, and succeeds at showcasing the siren’s vocals in a whole new way.
However, the most heart-stopping moment on the album is the song “Music,” a love letter to every note, hi-hat, and bassline that unites to create what Joss Stone has now come to realize as her one unconditional love. That’s not all. The track features Lauryn Hill. Correction…L-Boogie. If the phrase “real recognizes real” holds true, then Ms. Hill saw Ms. Stone. Lauryn rhymes over the second half of the track in a heartfelt way only categorized as her Miseducation and Score days. Makes sense, since the hook carries a similar melody as the hook to the Fugees’ “The Mask.”
It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the concept that a work like this came from someone so young. However, we’ve witnessed it once before with another female artist ironically featured on this album. If Introducing Joss Stone is just the beginning for Joss Stone, then the title of legend just might greet her later on in life.