Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
February 27, 2004
Amazon Disco:
Mind, Body & Soul Mind, Body & Soul
September 28, 2004
S-Curve Records
The Soul Sessions The Soul Sessions
September 16, 2003
S-Curve Records
Mind, Body & Soul Mind, Body & Soul
November 22, 2005
S-Curve Records
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Rock Music Reviews
Joss Stone
The Soul Sessions

Joss Stone is a 16-year old British native whose looks belie an amazing vocal prowess. setting apart her physical characteristics, the vocals by themselves exude a maturity lost with R&B musicians today and recalls the melodies and heart of Aritha Franklin while still possessing the natural tones of india.arie, Res, Jill Scott, and Angie Stone. surely this cannot be true: a 16-year old British girl makes music that's far superior to musicians in the states who have supposedly come from Motown and Face Records? i thought it criminal to not only have such talent come from an obvious outsider but also for someone hardly near the end of adolescence to sing as if she's accrued a den of knowledge on love.

what's also sad and, quite frankly, embarrassing is the way they simply toss Stone into a record where she's buttressed by nothing short of incompetent musicianship. i figured that with ?estlove (that's "Questlove" from The Roots) officially backing Ms. Stone and playing drums on the tracks, there would be little reason to offer a downturned brow. but everything simply sounds derivative; it's so grossly atavistic that one wonders if those who pushed the album did so simply in a rush to push just Stone herself. the music as a whole offers very little reason to believe that they strove to encapsulate Stone's voice with a new, engaging sound and instead showcase her talents. a second point is the content of those songs, all of which are covers. part of what makes a great R&B piece is the originality involved; the fact that the musician isn't simply writing for shits and giggles but instead effectively displaying the details of his/her experiences. there's a reason they call it 'Soul' music. with only covers to examine, though well sung, such an important nexus is lost and adds to a bit of insincerity on the part of the musician. like i said, Stone's only singing as if she's accrued a den of knowledge on love.

but this is not to deaden the work too much. there's certainly an attractiveness to 'The Chokin' Kind' and one can't help but be a little impressed at the reworking of the White Stripes' 'Fell in Love with a Girl'--which she renamed 'Fell in Love With a Boy'--but it's not without some plaguing problems i've taken issue with. maybe i'm being too dogged about musical requisites, especially for a debut album. but in the face of a genre that has given nothing short of musical revolutionaries i don't think it's too demanding to ask for a complete album.

Release date: September 16, 2003
Label: S-Curve
Rating: 6.0 / 10

[RMR]