Picks and Pans Review: Joss Stone

UPDATED 03/26/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 03/26/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT

Introducing Joss Stone
REVIEWED BY ERICKA SÓUTER
CRITIC'S CHOICE
R&B

The title of Joss Stone's third album is certainly a misnomer. After all, much praise has been heaped on the preternaturally deep-voiced teen and her critically acclaimed 2003 collection of vintage R&B covers, The Soul Sessions, which was quickly followed by the lush Mind Body & Soul. But this disc, her second set of original material, does introduce listeners to a more mature Stone. Now 19, and undoubtedly with more life experiences under her belt, she has grown into that husky, growly delivery. Seductive lyrics like "Bring me your sugar/And pour it all over me baby" in the sultry "Put Your Hands On Me" finally sound more natural and believable. This time working with producer Raphael Saadiq (Mary J. Blige, Kelis), Stone has added a youthful energy to tracks like the mildly Christina-esque "Tell Me 'Bout It," but in no way degrades her self-assured, retro-soul sound with overproduced melodies. Rather, she is deftly expanding it by infusing a hip-hop vibe with the buoyant "Music," featuring a fluid rap by Fugees phenom Lauryn Hill, and "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now," a superb jam with Common.

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