Leave your opinions of the girl at the door when you listen to this.
Anthony Leaver 2007
When Joss strutted on stage at the BRIT awards, her record company execs must’ve cowered behind the sofa, pleading for it to end. Her cringe-worthy cameo was, of course, manna from heaven for the red tops.
They went to town on the teenager for her American twang, the loud dress and even her fiery red hair – jibes that would make any 19 year-old girl cry, let alone a timid Devon lass in the public eye. How typical of the British press that they lord a talented 16 year-old as precious but three years later she is hung out to dry for a couple of perceived mistakes.
Introducing… is the sound of Joss growing up musically. By writing it herself, she’s leaving behind the pandering to her soul sister heroes in The Soul Sessions and the over-produced pop/R’n’ B/soul mish-mash that was Mind, Body and Soul – so let’s cut her some slack shall we?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get off to a great start – although Joss gets 10 out of 10 for surprise factor as Vinnie Jones presents a puzzling rant on change. Thankfully Joss follows the diatribe with the sexy jazz-fuelled ‘’Girl They Won’t Believe It’’ to get the show on the road.
Two subtle collaborations compliment the album nicely: ‘’Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now’’ with prolific hip-hop artist Common, and Lauryn Hill wouldn’t lend her sharp tongue to any old track, which is why, thanks to her craft, ‘’Music’’ stays above the line of a sappy ode.
Of course, it’s not without it’s faults. Many tracks are over-egged and some lyrics a little forced. The minimalist ‘’Proper Nice’’, as dubious as the title may be, is where we want to see Stone in the future, allowing a thoughtful vocal to breathe with an unobtrusive beat underneath.
Leave your opinions of the girl at the door when you listen to this. If Introducing… is a pointer to how she’ll progress while she is still trying to find herself, who knows what she could end up producing ten, twenty or thirty years down the line?