Joss Stone, the British Soul singer, has released a total of 7 albums, but for reasons unclear she’s taking a deep dive into reggae and made her seventh album entirely dedicated to the genre. The album called “Water For Your Soul,” was released on July 31, 2015. In this album Joss Stone pairs up with Damian Marley as the producer.
But here’s the thing:
When Nas wanted to do a reggae album, he also paired up with Damian Marley. However that album was more of a creative and visual partnership. Here, Damian’s presence seems more like a feature. Without reading the fine print, Damian’s role won’t be entirely clear. In this age of Miley Cyrus and charges of cultural appropriation, Joss Stone‘s foray into reggae hopefully will be more than a passing fancy.
Already, at least it’s giving reggae a bit of a spotlight in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), who reviewed Joss Stone’s album, but did not review Nas and Damian Marley‘s album, “Distant Relatives” (at least I couldn’t find it anywhere). Hopefully, this will be a mutually beneficial relationship between Joss Stone and reggae, than this passing review, in the mainstream.
Billboard also reviewed Joss Stone’s album, calling her a serial-genre hopper,” and were not as kind as the WSJ.
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.
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