LP1 is Joss Stone’s fifth studio album and her fifth attempt at reinventing herself. Having sold 11 million albums by the age of 24 it should be evident at this point just how talented she is and just what to expect when purchasing it. However, as ever, the album is a medley of styles and genres, unsure where to begin or where to take it.
Emancipating herself from her record label, Ms Stone has had a turbulent few years, forming her own band Superheavy with music titans Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley. She has also featured in films Eragon and Showtime’s The Tudors. You would expect, therefore, when listening to her latest album – the first one where she has had total creative freedom – to be taken along that journey with her, to delve into realms otherwise unexplored… learn things… feel something. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.
As with every album, there are some songs that you relate to more than others, usually, however there’s more than one. “Drive All Night” is the only one that resonates with me. I found myself waiting, and eager to fall in love with a song, but it never really came. The songs seem to be missing genuine emotion – more storytelling than anything else – and as a result her emancipation efforts seem hardly worth the trouble. With all the creative power to finally do whatever it is she wanted to, it’s a shame that what appears on this album is all she had aspired to.
Reportedly completed in just six days, LP1‘s rough and ready feel makes a change from the major label gloss on previous albums. This is emphasized by the fact that the songs were all recorded on a one-take performance, ensuring the initial emotion is savoured. That, is commendable in itself.
Criticisms on the album are coming in fast and thick and considering the undeniable talent that Ms Stone has, it seems the world is simply disappointed that she doesn’t seem to know quite what to do with it. Each song is different to the one before it in terms of its arrangements; “Karma” has a funk feel, while “Don’t Start Lying To Me Now” could have been taken right off Broadway. “Drive All Night” on the other hand has what (in my humble opinion) she is strongest at; a touch of soul.
These differences are interesting in that they remind us of how talented she is, that her voice can bend and shape-shift. And with genres and boundaries blurring, it should be okay to do. But for some reason, it’s not, here. Perhaps, if the audience sensed some genuine emotion she could feel free to gallivant the lines of music as often as she wished.