What first drew me to soul music as a teenager was the both the pain and longing I heard in it and the possibility of transcending that same pain and fulfilling the longing. Maybe that's why when I hear an album like Joss Stone's new one, Introducing Joss Stone, I bristle when people refer to it as a "soul" record. It occurs for me as a hollow album, showcasing the considerable vocal talent of an artist who has absolutely nothing to say and says it even less interestingly. Great soul singers can make the most banal, cliched lyric feel profound. Joss Stone could sing a song with lyrics with a Dylan-like depth, and it would come off as empty. Don't get fooled by this one - it's not even in the vicinity of true soulfulness.
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