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Joss Stone

Introducing Joss Stone (Virgin)

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The young, urban starlet is a wondrous thing to behold, isn't she? Well, no, not usually — particularly because, in this day and age, we associate her with multiple nether-region piercings, embarrassingly out-of-it public appearances and the urge to dry-hump everything in sight. Given all of that, the coming-out party for twenty-year-old British vocalist Joss Stone on album number three is relatively sedate — but only intermittently satisfying. When she and producer Raphael Saadiq hit, they hit big, pushing tempos beyond hip-hop's usual BPM. Songs such as "Put Your Hands on Me" and "Girl They Won't Believe It" draw direct links to Motown, even as they maintain a contemporary sheen. At those moments, Introducing sounds like it's the bridge between neo-soul and modern R&B. But over the course of these fourteen tracks, the sex eventually outlasts the melodies, leaving Stone's big, boisterous voice to broadcast her new self too much and too often.

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