Joss Stone – Introducing Joss Stone
Am I the only one that feels it’s weird to “introduce” yourself to your audience on your third record? Odd. I can only imagine she wanted to update her image and show us that this was the ‘real’ her, based on this being quite a different album from the other of hers I heard this week.
I think the biggest thing is the introduction of Raphael Saadiq in the role of production. The sound changed. Not in a bad way, mind you. It still sounds like Joss Stone. The sound is just… bigger, brassier. More in your face. My jury is still out on the way this was approached. I generally really dislike it when a producer takes over and defines a band’s sound (I’m looking at your, Mutt Lange, Daniel Lanois…) It’s obnoxious to take a band and make them sound like yourself instead of themselves. Mind you, Saadiq has produced other acts, even the Roots (I do love me some Roots) so it’s not as bad as a total Lanois or Lange sound-wash, but the tone here is indeed different.
There’s still lots to love about this album, lots of soulful and groovy tunes. The ones I liked best were the slow jams, like What Were We Thinking. Baby Baby Baby has a sweet Jackson 5 sound (imagine that!), and there are guest appearances from Common and Lauryn Hill.
Almost every song here is a retro-soul jam-out, and Stone can still REALLY sing. I dunno, I liked this. Still, I’m gonna need more listens before I like it as much as I liked the (far more immediate) previous effort, Mind Body & Soul.