Album Review: The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 by Joss Stone
Very Good, Based on 6 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
If Joss Stone couldn’t sing, she’d make a wicked DJ. Here, she flaunts her crate-digging skills, and her gale-force belting, on a collection of Seventies (and Seventies- esque) soul. She unearths two Chi-Lites chestnuts and gives Broken Bells' "The High Road" a psychedelic-soul makeover. But her musical instincts are off, and she steamrolls nearly every song with her bombastic blues growl.
Joss Stone's 2003 debut, The Soul Sessions, made her an international star and multimillionaire at the age of 16. Almost a decade on, having spent almost all of her fortune buying herself out of her record contract, and having being victim of an attempted kidnap, she is older and presumably wiser. She's certainly returned to her debut's soul covers format in more mature and superb voice.
A decade removed from 2003’s five-million-selling debut that put her on the music map, Stone returns to that well with a similarly styled batch of generally obscure 60s soul tunes brought up to date with contemporary production, if not arrangements. Like her revelatory reading of the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl” from the first set, Stone brings her throaty R&B to the Broken Bells’ “The High Road” in one of this album’s finest performances. She also has fun romping through the heartbreak of “(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the Days” (originally a hit for Patti Labelle & the Bluebells), Sylvia’s sexed-up, feathery “Pillow Talk,” the tough socio-political fist in the air of the Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People” and the Honey Cone’s “While You’re Out Looking for Sugar.
Joss Stone launched her career by singing soul standards so when it came time for a reboot she went back to the beginning, dusting off the old blueprint for The Soul Sessions and following it to a T, right down to replicating its title and giving a contemporary alt-rock hit a soul makeover. First time around, the intent was to prove that teenage Joss had soul bona fides, but in 2012 the purpose of The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 is to signal how she's done messing around with fleeting fashions and is getting back down to the real business.
Nearly a decade removed from her breakthrough as a precocious, big-voiced 16-year-old, it’s debatable whether or not Joss Stone has ever lived up to the enormous potential she showed on her debut, The Soul Sessions. The novelty of her youth naturally wore off, and middling albums like Introducing…Joss Stone and LP1 found Stone overshadowed by fellow retro-minded soul singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele. The Soul Sessions Vol.
Stone returns to her covers comfort zone, with excellent results. John Aizlewood 2012 Joss Stone was only 16 years old when she debuted with The Soul Sessions in 2003. Britain and the United States quickly fell for her barefoot innocence and worldly, earthy soul voice, a voice well beyond her years. Since then, Stone’s resolutely followed her own path.