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

Joss Stone
Pop
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<p>For more than a decade, <a href="/artist/305262/joss-stone/chart">Joss Stone</a> has been a serial genre-hopper. Switching from R&amp;B to blues, funk to rock, the 28-year-old Brit has powered six albums with soulful vocals beyond her years, ­attracting stars like <a href="/artist/361731/raphael-saadiq/chart">Raphael Saadiq</a> and Questlove to ­collaborate. Seventh LP <em>Water for Your Soul</em> is yet another pivot, into soul-splashed ­reggae indebted to Damien Marley, Stone's bandmate in all-star group SuperHeavy (along with <a href="/artist/310992/mick-jagger/chart">Mick Jagger</a>, <a href="/artist/1489237/dave-stewart/chart">Dave Stewart</a> and <a href="/artist/275278/ar-rahman/chart">A.R. Rahman</a>), who encouraged her to embrace the sound and assisted with ­production.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6576035/joss-stone-the-answer-exclusive-water-for-your-soul">Joss Stone Goes Global With New Song 'The Answer': Exclusive</a></p><p>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 <em>Water</em> is any indication, herself, too.</p><p><em>This story originally appeared in the <a href="http://shop.billboard.com/products/billboard-back-issue-volume-127-issue-22">Aug. 1 issue of Billboard</a>.</em></p>