In a time when so many artists are fed through a system churning out pop songs meant to make money rather than to express the artist’s emotions, it’s rather refreshing to have Joss Stone on the music scene. While the occasional pop song does translate into a hit that even the most cynical of us can appreciate, it will never be the same thing as listening to something that was written from the heart – which sums up the work put into the album Colour me Free.
Another thing that set Joss Stone’s new album apart is that the impetus came from her rather than the label. She didn’t write it because she had a deadline, but rather because she had a musical itch she had to scratch. Even more interesting is that her label actually gave her trouble for this.
It’s pretty obvious by now that I have a big positive bias towards this album even before I listened to it. Thankfully, my enthusiasm paid off in the form of 12 great tracks.
This album having been recorded on the whim of Joss Stone’s musical itch, I was wondering if it would feature one or two emotions throughout or rather if there would be a wide range of them she would be addressing. The verdict: the album features the latter, i.e. many emotions and concerns she has about many subjects.
On first listen, you might think that the album is only about positive things – but a closer listen quickly determines that this is far from being a superficial feel good type of album, despite the mostly upbeat tempos features on it.
The opening song, "Free Me," sets the tone for the entire album. Upbeat and cheerful, it tackles an important topic, that of authenticity: "Don't tell me that I won't/I will/Don't tell me how you think/how feel/Don't tell me 'cuz I know what's real/That, I can do." She goes on with: "Singing in Our On voice/We can make that choice/to be, to be free."
Love being the most mysterious emotion of them all, Joss Stone dedicates many songs to it. You would have thought the track "Incredible" would be praising the attributes of something or someone, but you would be mistaken. Quite the contrary: She talks about how incredibly shameful men can act towards women: "So many days I might have wasted/Staring at the picture fading/Get the camera off my face now/Time's running out/Stop pushing me down/You're incredible, you shock me daily/Unforgettable, now get some help/Can I mention you sent me to your hell." The fact that the song is so upbeat can leave one to pause, as it might seem a little out of place; then again, how best to deal with a negative situation than by being inspired, empowered and bolstered to act? The upbeat tempo of this song seems to encourage the women of the world in such a relationship to demand their partner stop pushing them down.
That’s what I call constructive.