Joss Stone Falls Flat With Reggae Experiment ‘Water for Your Soul’: Album Review

Joss Stone
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For more than a decade, Joss Stone has been a serial genre-hopper. Switching from R&B to blues, funk to rock, the 28-year-old Brit has powered six albums with soulful vocals beyond her years, ­attracting stars like Raphael Saadiq and Questlove to ­collaborate. Seventh LP Water for Your Soul is yet another pivot, into soul-splashed ­reggae indebted to Damien Marley, Stone's bandmate in all-star group SuperHeavy (along with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and A.R. Rahman), who encouraged her to embrace the sound and assisted with ­production.

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The songs are technically impressive, as expected from Stone, but unconvincing. She apes patois (on the bopping "Cut the Line") and even Barrington Levy's ­signature "skippity bop" (on "Harry's Symphony") in wince-worthy fashion. During past genre swings, a real ­personality, a deeper ­common thread, has never revealed itself, and that's the case here once again. Stone is clearly still finding her sound and, if Water is any indication, herself, too.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of Billboard.

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