Review ·

Introducing is Joss Stone's third album, but its title is apt: This is the first time she has created a sound that is truly her own. Teaming up with neo-soul pioneer Raphael Saadiq, Stone has created crisp and retro-styled yet contemporary soul, full of clattering percussions and sharp breaks (see the funky "Headturner" and "Put Your Hands On Me"). She's still projecting that vintage-soul vibe, but she sounds less derivative here than she has in the past, and she's finally putting some personality behind her strong voice -- particularly on "Proper Nice" and "Girl They Won't Believe It," which are buoyed by up-tempo grooves and catchy hooks. Most of the album (which is elevated by appearances from Common and Lauryn Hill) is funky, but the slower cuts work as well, particularly "What Were We Thinking," a classic-soul track that succeeds because of Stone's raspy vocal performance. Solid guest appearances from Common and Lauryn Hill further elevate the project. Stone's sincerity may still be in question, but this is her best album to date, and she is clearly developing her style and sound.

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Artist: http://www.jossstone.com/

Label: http://www.virginrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/jossstone

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