9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Stone is Pure Gold,
This review is from: Mind Body And Soul (Audio CD)
One of the quickest success stories in music during 2004 was that of Joss Stone. She burst onto the scene with her album of cover versions "Soul Sessions", which broke the platinum mark and declared to the world [litterally, since she's one of the few UK acts to make it big in America] "Joss Stone Has Arrived!". This release, her first of new material does not dissapoint, and proves any of those short sighted enough to label her a "studio girl" or "one album wonder" totally wrong. This is a mature, smooth and sincere collection of songs, that, given Stone's relatively young age, are a wonder.
The LP begins with the second single lifted from it, "Right To Be Wrong". Nice lyrics and decent arrangement make it very radio friendly, but it wouldn't have been my choice for single. "Jet Lag" is mellow and chilled, but doesn't really go anywhere. Nice track, though. "You Had Me", the biggest impacter on the album, which was rightly the first single, could have been performed by any American R&B/Hip-Hop artist and is a female-empowerment fuelled track about the end of a relationship that litterally jumps out of the speakers and slaps you round the face. Fast Paced and Fabulous! "Spoiled", like "Jet Lag" has a nice vibe but fails to lift itself above the easy listening mark. "Don't Cha Wanna Ride" is another big hit in the making that contains a killer hook and some vocals by Stone that are simply sublime. Wonderful stuff. "Less Is More" is understated and bare in it's arrangement, and although it hits the spot, it's not one of my favourites. "Security" is a very beautiful track. It requires a few listens to be truly appreciated, but the small ammount of time invested in it are worth it. With some highly emotive lyrics, classic arrangements and soulful backing vocal that lifts the track to euphoric levels, it's one that proves what long lasting appeal Stone could achieve. "Young At Heart" continues the trend with lyrics about the pitfalls and obstructions in the way of love, while "Snakes and Ladders" is an intriguing track that just won't allow itself to be skipped - highly skillfull in it's production. "Understand" exposes some less than outstanding vocals from the artist, because Stone seems to take the soulful whispering element of her voice that one step too far. "Don't Know How" is good, but frankly, rather forgettable, something that can't be said of the track following it. "Torn and Tattered" has a classic chorus and some beautifully crafted lyrics. It's an uptempo number that steers clear of any cliche's and which sounds original and exciting to the end. "Killing Time" is another nice track that Stone delivers with perfection, the last listed track "Sleep Like A Child" is one of the album's strongest and most definining moments. Again, bare landscaping is the key - as some gorgeous piano riff's build themselves around Stone's focused and engaging vocals. Lyrically it's also high on the album's list. And, finally, the hidden track included here had much potential but is let down by Stone's tendancy to go to far with the whispering element of her voice. Still a success though.
Overall, despite some undesirable aspects, this is an excellent collection of new material from Joss. If this release is anything to go by, Stone's next release should be just as unmissable. With her American-Styled Soulful voice, Stone is a breath of fresh air in a music industry exausted by manafactured pop artists, reality televison "stars", and Hip-Hop newcomes with nothing but the success of thier producers to thier names. And for that, she and this album must be applauded.