Tag Archives: Joss Stone

Album Review – WATER FOR YOUR SOUL – Joss Stone

jossstonewaterforyoursoul

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Dear Music Appreciators,

What a cool album cover. Kind of a lofty suggestion though, water for MY soul? Water, with all it’s refreshing, restorative, and life-sustaining qualities, for “my soul?” I hate to be the semantics police (I know, I know, there might be other meanings here) but unfortunately the music on this album doesn’t quite do these implied concepts justice for me.

But for plenty of Joss Stone’s fans, perhaps this album will be sort of like water for their souls I guess, in the sense that Joss always has a beautiful voice and a sort of a hand-holding, healing-soul-sister “we’re all in this together” kind of vibe going on, and lots of people will enjoy and identify with that regardless of what she does on her records.

Yes, there are reggae beats and a wide variety of instruments spread around on this album, and that’s pretty cool and groovy and everything but where is there any sense of joy or fun or at least some good ol’ fashioned showing off of that big expressive voice? Even the “up with people” type songs (such as “Star” or “Clean Water”) seem restrained by an overly busy instrumental background and relatively understated vocals and never quite seem to take off and soar. “Star” hands the big chorus off to a children’s choir for example, which gives the song a sort of plodding, creepy feeling rather than turning it into the jubilant, people-come-together kind of anthem it could have been. And this one particular example of choosing a musical style or effect over a chance to feature Joss Stone’s greatest asset (her voice) might just be symbolic of the main issue that infects the entire album.

In many ways WATER FOR YOUR SOUL is too long and too serious, and it lacks the big vocal moments that have made Joss Stone a pleasure to listen to so many times in the past.

But I criticize because I care. Funny thing is, despite all of it’s issues, with each succeeding listen I’ve found more to like and can’t deny that there are words and music and beats here that want to wear some grooves in my mind. Okay, fine, I’ll take numbers 1 through 5…oh and numbers 7 and 8…basically I’ll take half the album and you can keep the rest.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener

Album Review – THE SOUL SESSIONS VOL. 2 – Joss Stone

Sample “The High Road” on You Tube from THE SOUL SESSIONS VOL. 2 by Joss Stone

Joss Stone

 

Dear Music Appreciators,

And so, nine years after her hit debut THE SOUL SESSIONS, Joss Stone returns with a sequel.
In between the two records she has grown from an ultra talented teenager of just sixteen into an ultra talented woman with legions of loyal fans.

True to the original concept, this is an album of covers, and the song selections are both interesting and appropriate. For the most part these are songs that have enjoyed a life before Joss, but may not be instantly familiar to the average casual listener – and that’s a good thing, because for now they belong to Joss Stone and will thus arrive without baggage on the ears of many listeners.

Joss burns up the scenery on “The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind).” She injects a Broken Bells track (“The High Road”) with a soulful power missing from the original, and helps us to understand James Mercer’s cryptic lyrics just a little better. On “Pillow Talk” she smoothly plays the soulful sex kitten. While I’m not familiar with all the original versions of these songs, I still feel like she must have stamped them with her signature style – and perhaps that’s the mark of a great covers album – when an artist owns the songs so confidently that the details of any previous recorded version cease to matter much.

But for those who are interested in the details of these covers, here are the writing credits for each of these tracks – in many cases the writers were also the original performers:

1. “I Got The…” – Labi Siffre
2. “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People” – Eugene Record (of the Chi-Lites)
3. “While You’re Out Looking For Sugar” – Ronald Dunbar, Edyth Wayne (AKA Holland-Dozier-Holland), written for and originally performed by Honey Cone
4. “Sideways Shuffle” – Tim Renwick
5. “I Don’t Wanna Be with Nobody But You” – Eddie Floyd
6. “Teardrops” – Cecil Womack, Linda Womack
7. “Stoned Out of My Mind” – Barbara Acklin
8. “The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)” – Terry Callier, Larry Wade
9. “The High Road” – James Mercer (The Shins), Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) (AKA Broken Bells)
10. “Pillow Talk” – Sylvia Robinson, Michael Burton
11. “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” – John D. Loudermilk

Bonus Tracks on the Deluxe Edition

12. “First Taste of Hurt” – W. Turbinton
13. “One Love in My Lifetime” – Terri McFaddin, Leonard Perry, Lawrence Brown (originally performed by Diana Ross)
14. “Nothing Takes the Place of You” – Toussaint McCall
15. “(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the Days” – B. O’Dell, Yvonne Williams

Sincerely,

Constant Listener

 

Album Review – LP1 – Joss Stone

Sample “Drive All Night” from LP1 by Joss Stone

Dear Music Appreciators,

BUY LP 1 BY JOSS STONE IF…
1. You’re already a fan and you’ve been hoping for an album that will be better than the last two albums.

2. You’ve recently discovered Joss Stone and don’t mind starting with her present work and working back to her more well known stuff.

3. You’ve got soul, a nose ring, and a bit of an attitude (or you’ve got soul and attitude and are still working up to that nose ring).

4. You recently went through a breakup or are in the middle of a breakup and need a soul sister to sing you through it. Extra points for a breakup with someone who is a liar.

5. You recently reconciled with someone or discovered a new love – preferably someone you might drive all night for or someone with whom you might want to have a picnic.

6. Phrases like “Karma’s your master and you’re the b _ tch,” or “I’m a girl that don’t give a sh _ t,” or “…getting all messed up by f _ _ _ing fireside” don’t bother you – you’re not offended at all, rather you’re all like “hell yeah, tell it like it is sister!”

7. You’re cool with an album ratio of approximately eight good songs to four so-so songs.

8. You don’t mind an album that is front loaded with all the best songs, then slows down in the last third, but…the slow last third of the album includes a melodic little duet about having a picnic.

9. You don’t feel too let down when the best song on the album is also the first song on the album.

10. Sexy, funky, soulful songs sung by rich-throated, growly, blonde British tarts get your mojo working.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener