I thoroughly enjoyed Joss Stone's first album. It was a cover album, but at the end of the day, we weren't expecting much. She was a 16 year-old soul singer, and a lot of people argue that you have to be more mature than that before you can be a truly great soul singer. What we got more than exceeded any of our expectations, and when i heard that this one was going to be her first actual attempt at writing songs, I was keen to listen. Difficult follow-up, this one. She's clearly picked the harder route. Several soul singers are quite content to stick with covers, because they're tried-and-tested classic material. However, this 17 year-old darling of modern soul has produced something really quite special on her own steam. Single 'You had me' is a great piece of funky soul, whereas tracks like 'Jet lag' and 'Don't cha wanna ride' wouldn't be totally out of place on a Beverley Knight CD. The range of styles is very diverse, too, with final track 'Sleep like a child' sounding like something that would belong on a Portishead album, and 'Don't know how' boasting cool grooves that Maroon 5 would have a job pulling off convincingly. Overall, it's an excellent album, and needless to say, if this is what she's like at 17, we'll be blown away by the time she's 20.
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