When Joss Stone first appeared on the music scene a few years ago, people were floored. The then-17-year-old hippie chick, who stole inspiration from greats like Aretha Franklin, seemed as though she would one day be the source of inspiration for budding songstresses. Debuting her talents with The Soul Sessions, an album made entirely of cover songs, Stone became well known for her cover of the White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With a Girl” (changed appropriately to “Fell In Love With a Boy”), which Jack White praised, saying it was better than his own. Stone then released Mind, Body and Soul, an album in which the Aretha-wannabe showcased her “real” self. The album was good; no two tracks sounded alike and listeners did not have a chance to get bored.
It has been about two years since her initial debut, and the public has apparently been deceived yet again. Stone is now releasing what seems like her third debut album in an attempt to show her “real” self once again. Desperate to reveal to the world that she is a new woman, the appropriately titled Introducing Joss Stone features an album cover in which the singer sports her new pink hair and a “tattooed” body. The hype leading up to the singer’s latest release only served to make the album’s disappointment greater; wasn’t this album supposed to be different? It sounds like Mind, Body and Soul – except worse.It is true that each song on this album could be released as a single, because individually, the songs are decent. But when you put them all together to create an album, each song becomes muddled within the next. Try playing the album in iTunes, and it sounds like one long, never-ending song. Going along with her “all grown up” theme, the album’s intro, “Change,” is voiced by footballer-to-film star Vinnie Jones, right before it launches into the album’s first track, “Girl They Won’t Believe It.”
The only bearable songs on the album are “Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now,” which features the rapper Common, “Put Your Hands on Me” and “Bruised but Not Broken.”
Stone even brings Lauryn Hill out from hiding on her laidback melody, “Music,” on which Hill voices a rather boring, monotone rap.
Since Stone wrote her own lyrics on this album, it will be hard for fans to take her seriously as a mature album. Stone whines about how hard her life is (“living on the road is so damn tough”) and writes about love and heartbreak. It feels as though Stone is picking petals off of a flower, saying, “He loves me, he loves me not.” It is quite obvious that the album was written by a teenager, which is exactly what she is.
Stone’s voice is still phenomenal. However, it seems as though she is falling into the horrible habit of over singing. It was not something that happened on either of her previous records, but now it seems as though she is trying to do a bad imitation of Mariah Carey.
Often pitted against Amy Winehouse, another British soul-singing sensation, it is obvious that this time, Stone falls short.
She tries to pair a retro sound with a modern feel, but it just doesn’t work. Although both singers are nearly the same age, Winehouse’s album is mature and fun; Winehouse can wear high heels without looking like she’s wearing her mommy’s shoes. If anybody were to take anything away from Introducing Joss Stone, it would be that they should have spent their money on an Amy Winehouse record instead.