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Review: Joss Stone – Colour Me Free

29/10/2009

folderJoss Stone’s fourth studio album is, in my opinion, her best yet. Previous efforts have been criticised for containing more than their fair share of ‘filler’ tracks and I have criticised her voice for being ‘soulful’ in sound yet lacking ‘soul’ or emotion (I know this seems a bit of a paradox but i’m sure most of you get what I mean). These two criticisms certainly apply to Colour Me Free, however not to such a great extent as her previous work.

First single ‘Free Me’ deals with Joss’ much publicised battle with her record label and is a good, if not great, album opener. ‘Could Have Been You’ and ‘Parallel Lines’ are where the fun really begins, the former being Joss’ catchiest song to date, and the latter incorporating a slight funk edge and some pretty good lyrics. ‘Lady’ is probably my favourite song on the album, it shows her softer, smoother side as she discusses being torn between lustful thoughts and retaining her ‘lady’. ‘4and 20’ is also a strong track, with a slight 50’s vibe which actually suits her voice even though the song sounds a little contrived in places. ‘Big ‘ole Game’ (featuring Raphael ‘can do no wrong’ Saadiq) is a Motown inspired track which sounds like it could have been an out-take from The Way I See It (meant in the nicest possible way). In my opinion these two sound great together but I would like to hear something other than recylcled Motown. ‘Governmentalist’ sees Joss trying out 70s soul/funk, to good effect, as she questions the US/UK Governments decisions concerning the war in Iraq. I do feel that this track would have been better had they done away with the guest appearance by Nas which adds nothing to an otherwise great song.

The remainder of the album is good, but nothing to get too excited about. Her cover of The Souce ft Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’ is ok, but nowhere near as good as the original and ‘Stalemate’ is a run-of-the-mill soft rock duet that sounds completely out of place. The only slightly redeeming feature of the latter part of the disc is the ballad ‘Girlfriend On Demand’. Joss is often criticised for having a great voice but sounding a little ‘wooden’, however here she definitely taps into her emotional reserve and gives us a great close to the album.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/11/2009 4:55 pm

    Heya SoulUK,

    I agree with you on the voice. Soulful but soulless except I wouldn’t be as kind as that. It’s just plain old affected much like Heather Smalls from M People. Joss Stone’s success has always baffled and depressed me in equal measure. Why the likes of Raphael Saadiq insist on working with a ludicrously overrated singer confounds me no end. Just one of life’s lil’ mysteries I suppose.

    Shalom x

  2. 03/11/2009 5:01 pm

    @Tolita – thanx for commenting. lol … i was waiting for your comment on this as I know your not a JS fan.

    I agree she is somewhat overrated, but I think it’s safe to say I like her a bit more than you do. I think her and Raphael make a good combo and some of the songs on this disc do give a glimpse of what she can do … maybe on future albums.

    Overall i’m with you though, there are far more talented UK artists out there who are not getting the exposure that Joss has had (and continues to get).

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