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Introducing Joss Stone is the third album from soul singer Joss Stone. The album was released in the United Kingdom in 2007. The CD is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £4.97 which I think is good value for money.
~ * Track Listing * ~
1) Change (Vinnie Jones Intro) 2) Girl They Won't Believe it 3) Headturner 4) Tell Me Bout It 5) Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now 6) Put Your Hands on Me 7) Music 8) Arms of My Baby 9) Bad Habit 10) Proper Nice 11) Bruised But Not Broken 12) Baby Baby Baby 13) What Were We Thinking 14) Music Outro
The first thing I noticed when I listened to this CD was how different it was compared to Joss' first two albums; this is certainly a new chapter; the music is different and the style is different. But is it for the better?
The first few songs on the album are great, although I found that as the album goes on, the album gets worse. I don't know why, but the songs aren't just as interesting or exciting as the first few songs which are quite upbeat and catchy. I don't love every single song on the album like I did with her previous albums.
The two songs which stand out the most for me are definitely 'Girl They Won't Believe It' and 'Tell Me 'bout It' as they are so upbeat and catchy. It's a shame that the album isn't consistent and all of the songs are not as great as the first few. I find the last few songs to be a bit of a bore and usually skip them as they are quite bland and not interesting.
I think that Joss has a great voice; very strong and powerful even when she's not singing big ballads. She is a very talented young lady, and I think its great that she does her 'own thing' rather than be like everyone else in the charts.
This album was ok, but not as good as her first two albums.
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
This is the third album of Joss Stone. The release was March 9, 2007. On this CD are three songs released as a single, namely 'Tell Me' Bout It, "" Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now 'and Baby, Baby, Baby. The album was produced by Raphael Saadiq who wrote and produced songs for such as Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Macy Gray, Snoop Dogg, Angie Stone, The Bee Gees, Kelis, Lionel Richie, John Legend, Marcus Miller, Stevie Wonder and many more artists. This album is also the "Benjamin Wright Orchestra note that in almost heard in every song. Also you can hear hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill on one of the songs.
Girl, They Won't Believe It
This track was written by Joss Stone and Raphael Saadiq. The song starts with a beat of drums and violins as if the first tune is a good movie. This goes quickly into a real rhythm blues that I would not expect a CD of Joss Stone. It is a relaxed shuffle that played by the drums and bass which you hear a bluesy guitar complemented by an organ. A nice fill-in shows when the chorus starts. Joss Stone is in the chorus again accompanied by background singers and singers and string violins played by parties. Yet quite a number, a soulful bluesy shuffle rhythm despite the content. It's a nice laid back song that goes through your head with no real breaks itself up or down to the music.
This is a very nice song with an old Motown soul sound. Joss Stone sings this song really great! You would never say that you hear a 22-year-old girl singing. She also does much more with her voice than on her previous CD. The track starts off with a relaxed drum beat that sounds like it is included in the 70's. In the background you can hear violins and Joss Stone singing the intro. Simultaneously, there is audible percussion as if someone stands tapping empty bottles. A funky guitar quietly along as the bass beats makes short dull. Background Singers indicate when the song really begins. I think it's a fun song that sounds nice and tight with your head naturally moves along to the rhythm. After 2 minutes followed by a spacer with the violins and backing vocals clearly emerge. The following is a sharp guitar solo that ends in a bluesy way, then the basic rhythm returns complemented by a trumpet. The track was written by Joss Stone, Billy Mann and Otis Redding.
Baby Baby Baby
This song was written by Joss Stone, Danny P and Jonathan Shorten. I like this track much like "I Want You Back" by the Jackson Five. The recording is not very clear, but there is a very slight noise and crackling in the background. The drums sound like they're in the living room. This gives the song a real old Motown Sound. Like "I Want You Back" this track sounds very happy that you have a smile on your face. What is the old sound breaks through the scratching of a plate and add the strings of the orchestra. The rest of the instruments you hear in this song are the drums dry, dull bass line, funky guitar riffs walk along with the bass, a trumpet, a saxophone and a Wurlitzer piano. Joss Stone sings very well and makes good use of her voice now by using many tricks and improvisation. I think it's a very nice song with lots of variety, breaks and spacers which sounds all very happy. This is one of the three songs on the CD single is released.
I find this CD in terms of diversity, originality and variety better than the previous album, "Mind, Body & Soul '. There is increasing use of different instruments and certain sounds. On the previous album the songs were all a bit the same style as on this CD are more different kinds of songs. The soul is the basis of this album, but I think this album has hip-hop influences. This is mainly due to some hip-hop style drum beats and scratching in a few songs. You can clearly hear that this album was produced by Raphael Saadiq. The use of an orchestra in every song you hear back what else does the CD stand out. On the previous CD Joss Stone dared to do less with her voice and it was a bit monotonous, but luckily not on this almbum. This album is very successful and I therefore give it 5 stars!
Ever since she came onto the Music Scene with the release of "The Soul Sessions" I was a fan of Joss Stone. A then 16 year old who grew up in Devon yet had the voice of a Black American Woman twice her age. Since then she has worked with a huge array of stars over several genres and has continued her success. Having turned 23 earlier this year Joss (Real name Jocelyn Eve Stoker) has released four albums and performed on albums by Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock and others.
This album was released 9th March 2007 and features a mix of guest stars including Lauryn Hill, Common and production comes from Raphael Saadiq who also provides backing vocals and plays several instruments. The album is a slight departure from her previous material with a heavy more Hip Hop styled sound. The album opens with a spoken part by Vinnie Jones.
This is the short intro from Vinne Jones where he speaks about changing and improving as a person.
2.) Girl they won't believe it
This track features a fantastic shuffling bassline and heavy drums. Joss' vocals are on fine form here and she moves through the song very well indeed and is backed wonderfully by the female backing vocals. This is a song of real pep and is one to get the toes tapping throughout. A good catchy start to the album then.
This is another catchy moment although the feel of the song is a little lighter. This track Contains an interpolation of Otis Redding's "Respect" which adds a nice feel to the track. The track is about walking away from a relationship with someone because of their actions and telling them you are walking away. This track features a fine guitar solo which tops the feel of the track off superbly.
4.) Tell Me Bout It
This is another very funky hip hop joint which has a great up tempo mood and Joss' rapid fire vocals really shine in this kind of setting. This is one of the shorter tracks on the album but it certainly does enough in less than three minutes to be one of the best tracks on the album. A very catchy up tempo joint.
5.) Tell me what we're gonna do now
This is a fabulously catchy mid tempo ballad which features Common. One of the best tracks on the album this is a slight departure from the norm for Common but he does a decent job with his vocals towards the end of this one. A very enjoyable track which will have you toe tapping as you are humming the lyrics.
6.) Put your hands on me
Another short track from Stone and Saadiq here. This is another fantastic vibrant up tempo number with thumping drums and melodic backing instrumenation. Joss is on fine form vocally here and really lets her vocals to good effect. One of the best up tempo tracks on the album for sure. This song is A great one to dance to.
This is another fabulously catchy track, this time featuring the rapping skills of Lauryn Hill who provides a great addition to Joss Stone's vocals. This track Contains an interpolation of the Fugees' "The Mask" which works really well and probably especially because of the presence of Lauryn Hill on her own song. Good stuff.
8.) Arms of my baby
This is another catchy track which has some greta drum beats and a very flowing feel. Joss really shows off her vocals on this one and the fine female backing vocals really add a nice 70's soul touch which works well alongside the punchy beat of the drums. Another very decent track.
9.) Bad Habit
This opens with a drum machine beat and some funky guitar licks from electric and bass. Joss again showcases how well she moves through the lyrics of a song and this is another very decent track from her which continues the up tempo feel of the majority of this album.
10.) Proper Nice
This is another Joss Stone and Raphael Saadiq collaboration, It Contains an interpolation of Pretty Poison's "Catch Me (I'm Falling)" which again is another good use of a sample. Joss again moves through the vocals superbly well and this is another decent track. Good stuff.
11.) Bruised but not broken
This is the first real ballad on the album and is one of the best songs on the album. A Dianne Warren penned track this really showcases Joss' fine voice. This track has a lovely summery feel and is about moving on from a broken relationship and finding someone new and being happy again when you thought you migt never find the same again.
12.) Baby, Baby, Baby
Back to the more up tempo material here and this is a flowing track which sees Raphael Saadiq on the Bass Guitar. This is a very impressively flowing track which has some very decent drum parts which add to the overall delivery of the song. A very interesting track which works well.
13.) What were we thinking
This is my favourte track from this one and is the second ballad on the album. It's a stripped down Ballad which has a lovely Blues/Soul feel which really adds to the emotive quality and delivery of the song. This is undeniably Joss Stone at her best and she is backed up by a wonderful orchestra. This really shows the variety of both Stone and Saadiq who co wrote the song. SUPERB!!!. Topped off with a wonderful guitar solo.
14.) Music Outro
This is the final track on the album and is a beautifully laid back piano led track to start with and develops thanks to the progressive vocals from Joss which leads into the beat from Music ft Lauryn Hill. This is a great ending to the album.
It's clear that Joss Stone is a great singer but she is also a very very talented artist. This album shows a growth to her music and a wider reaching music platform. This is not a perfect album though and the fact that there are only two real ballads on the album is both surprising and a little disappointing especially considering how good the two ballads actually are. For me this knocks a star off the album but this is still a very fine album.
In the music industry, more so now than ever before, marketing is more important than actual talent in attracting the attention of record companies and sales. This is how the Cheeky Girls were able to get a record deal and how every X Factor winner manages to top the charts with their debut singles, before generally vanishing into obscurity before they can release their second album or, in some cases, a second single.
In the lead up to the release of Introducing it appears that Joss Stone may have forgotten this. An appearance at the Brit Awards where she spoke with an American accent caused the tabloid press to come out against her and turning up late for a concert in London upset her fans. Making disparaging remarks about her two earlier albums was not a wise idea either and she left herself with a mountain to climb to win back press and public affection and so Introducing Joss Stone needs to be a great album to turn things around.
Its not a promising start, with the opening track being Change (Vinnie Jones Intro), which is nothing more than a spoken word piece about change by Vinnie Jones. Ive never been a fan of the skits that appear on rap and R n B records and Im not a fan of it here. Maybe Stone is trying to send a message to expect something different, but having already seen the differences in her accent and punctuality, it will take more than this to impress.
The first song on the album is a bit more encouraging. Girl They Wont Believe It harks back to Stones earlier sound, with a very 1960s soul feel to it. Admittedly, its Motown Soul with Stones pop edge, but its not a bad song, although not nearly as impressive as it needs to be to offset what Stone has been up to in the lead in to the albums release.
Headturner is pretty close to being as impressive as it needs to be. Its got a laid back soul groove and a sexy, sassy lyric and has all the attitude of soul, as well as all the sound. Admittedly, this doesnt make it a major departure from anything Stone has done before in terms of the sound, but theres a much more sexual feel to the song than before. Stone may have split from her boyfriend before the album was released, but you suspect hes had enough of an influence in her life while they were together to have changed her outlook.
Next up is the first single from the album. Tell Me Bout It has a similar laid back, jazz influenced groove as Amy Winehouses Rehab, but its far more upbeat in terms of tone and emotion. Its another song with all that made Joss Stone good to start with all over it, which doesnt provide any real progression, but does give you a good song.
Tell Me What Were Gonna Do Now is the first of two songs with guest singers, not counting Vinnie Jones intro. This one features Common, a rapper and this turns the song into a copy of any number of similar songs. Its got a cool, laid back R n B groove, with Common doing a bit of rapping here and there and adding his own touches to the backing. But this has been done by any number of artists and its only Stones vocal that separates this from any other modern R n B singer/rapper collaboration.
Fortunately, this only lasts for the one song and Put Your Hands On Me is a return to the more soulful side of things. The backing again has the same kind of feel as Amy Winehouse, but played faster and with a far more positive attitude. However, whilst this was fine on Tell Me Bout It, theres more of a pop-soul influence to the vocal this time around and when the lead and backing vocals are all in together, the song sounds a little like Mariah Careys attempts at R n B, which isnt a good thing.
The next guest star on the album is the Fugees Lauryn Hill, who features on Music. Her influence on the song is very clear, as this could have been a Fugees song, had the Fugees sold out and released a pop influenced song. This is essentially what Music becomes, a pop song with the urban beats that the Fugees did so well. Unfortunately, this leaves the song somewhere in the middle ground, as its a slight departure for Stone, but not an entirely successful one and it feels like a weakened version of what you would expect from Lauryn Hill normally. Its not a bad song, really, but the two styles dont sit entirely comfortably together, so the result is not an especially good one, either.
According to the album notes, Arms of my Baby is not a cover version. However, its such a generic sounding 1960s Motown influenced song that I was convinced it was at first and still am, every time I hear the song. Its a decent enough song, filled with the soul and blues influence that made Motown so good, combined with Stones powerful vocal, but theres nothing really new here or anything really different.
Much the same could be said of Bad Habit, just talking about a slightly different sound. Its got more of a modern R n B influence than Arms of my Baby, particularly as the song goes on, but its still pretty generic and nothing special. Stone has had to tone the soul edge of her down so far that you can barely even tell that its her singing, which cant be a good thing for a woman who counts her voice as her most distinctive instrument.
Proper Nice gives you a feeling of déjà vu, as its another slice of generic pop R n B. Once more, its so similar to everything else around in the genre that it feels like a cover version. Stones distinctive voice is once more buried under the instrumentation and the backing vocals, although it is a little bit more obvious than on the previous track in a couple of parts, once more making this blend into the background.
After these slices of generic R n B, Bruised But Not Broken promises to be a change of pace, as its written by Diane Warren, who had a long history of writing pop-rock ballads in the 1980s. That is clearly still a genre she works in, as she manages to turn Joss Stone into a pop singer and nothing more. Stones vocal sticks out in some parts, but again is largely subdued and this is nothing more than a standard pop ballad that anyone could have sung, much less someone with the vocal talents of Joss Stone. Indeed, with Stones voice, it almost feels like an insult to hear her singing this, as you know its the kind of thing she could perform more than adequately with one vocal chord tied behind her back.
Fortunately, Stone gets to have a bit more fun on Baby Baby Baby. Its an upbeat, funky little tune with a happy vibe that could have come from the Jackson 5s Motown period. Admittedly, there is once more nothing new here, but at least its nothing new in a genre that were more used to from Stone and which allows her some vocal freedom and which she seems happy to be singing. This is one of the better songs on the album, although it does get a bit annoying towards the end.
What Were We Thinking keeps us rooted in 1960s Motown and its the perfect place to be with Joss Stone as a guide. Again, theres nothing new, but this is a perfectly crafted soul ballad which lets Stone loosen her vocal chords and show us, for the first time in quite a few songs, what her voice can really do. As good as track as this is, sadly its too little, too late in terms of saving the overall quality of the album.
The album ends with Music Outro, which is a bit of a muddle. Stones voice is here, but that is about the only constant, as the musical style seems to veer all over the place and the music itself keeps changing. Fortunately this only lasts for around 90 seconds, before a period of silence ushers in a kind of call and response section that adds nothing of note.
This is an OK album, but thats all it is. There are some great songs that remind you why Stones first two albums sold more than a million copies and reached the Top 5 in the UK alone. However, after losing the marketing battle, this needed to be superior to both those albums to succeed and it simply isnt that good.
If youre a Joss Stone fan, this is worth picking up for the good moments, as maybe half of the albums 12 track and 40 minute running time will appeal to the existing Joss Stone fan. Given that you can now get the album from as little as 99 pence on eBay, its worth getting a copy for that kind of money, even if its not worth paying nearly £7 at either Play or Amazon. If youre new to Joss Stone, one of her earlier albums is a better place to start, as despite the title, this isnt the best introduction to her work by a long shot.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Change - Stone, Joss & Vinnie Jones
2 Girl They Won't Believe It
4 Tell Me 'Bout It
5 Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now
6 Put Your Hands On Me
8 Arms Of My Baby
9 Bad Habit
10 Proper Nice
11 Bruised But Not Broken
12 Baby Baby Baby
13 What Were We Thinking