Most greatest hits packages are at least halfway dubious ventures. Questions about the aptness of the package and whether it’s needed in the first place are unavoidable. Are there enough “hits?” What is a “hit,” anyway? And does the artist have enough of a catalogue to comprise such a compendium?
In the case of 24-year-old Joss Stone, the questions are ample. Sure, the smoky and sensual singer/songwriter is sitting on five studio albums. The Dover-born Stone is even in a super-group of epic proportions, SuperHeavy, and she’s appeared in some films and television shows. But are there enough hits for The Best of Joss Stone: 2003-2009?
Stone grew into the public consciousness at the age of 16 with her 2003 debut, The Soul Sessions. The album is gold-certified and features such hits as her “Fell In Love With a Boy,” her sassy rendering of the White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With a Girl.” The Soul Sessions was made with the support of such soul legends as Betty Wright and Timmy Thomas.
In 2004, Stone’s second studio album dropped. Mind, Body & Soul represented a progression into the song-writing arena. Her velvety smooth touch on tracks like “Right To Be Wrong” and “Spoiled” paid off in spades as the record went platinum.
Also game to go platinum was the 2007 record Introducing…Joss Stone. This reached second on the Billboard Top 200 and included tracks like “Bruised But Not Broken” and “Tell Me ‘Bout It.”
Colour Me Free, her fourth, hit 10th on the Top 200 and featured “Stalemate” and “Free Me” as singles. Her newest record, 2011’s LP1, was released on her own Stone’d Records.
So yes, you could say that there are enough hits to comprise a 13 track compilation.
Also along for this soulful ride is Stone’s cover of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E.” She cuts a sly rendition, gliding with a sexy coo over a groove that’s both a throwback and a wink forward.
Stone’s extraordinary vocal range, one that effortlessly glides from a smouldering contralto to a crystalline mezza-soprano, is the vital spark of these hits. As expressive and hip as the numbers are, they’d be nothing without her dexterity. She plays things smartly, too, and resists the urge to overdo it. Instead, Stone frequently settles into a groove and rides it out through the song’s duration.
Fans of Joss Stone will probably have no use for this compilation, but those looking to get on board will do well to pick it up. At just 24, there’s an awful lot to come from this incredible talent and The Best of Joss Stone: 2003-2009 is just the beginning.