Album review: Joss Stone's 'LP1'
Joss Stone waited until her third album to use the title “Introducing Joss Stone,” so it makes sense that she’d call her fifth “LP1.” This young English singer first appeared in 2003 under the aegis of Betty Wright, a Miami soul-music veteran who presented Stone as a kind of old-school R&B revivalist. Since then, she’s remade herself several times, on each occasion with the announcement that she’s finally gotten out from under the weight of someone else’s artistic vision. Her last record, 2009’s “Colour Me Free!,” led with a cut titled “Free Me,” in which the singer declared, “Don’t tell me that I won’t / I can.”
For “LP1,” which arrives in stores on her own label, Stone recruited producer Dave Stewart, the former Eurythmics member who’s also working with Stone in an unlikely new group, SuperHeavy, that includes Mick Jagger, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman. The result, surprisingly, is Stone’s most conventional record yet: handsome soul singing, sturdy blues-rock arrangements, lyrics about refusing to cry oneself to sleep. Occasionally, as in “Last One to Know,” the music gestures toward the majestic balladry we’ve heard a lot of lately from Ryan Tedder in his productions for Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson. But such a mild reward hardly seems worth the trouble of her protracted freedom fight.
Two stars (Out of four)
— Mikael Wood