Let's see, should I give the intellectual review where I deliberately break down every nuance of every song on the album, give detailed historic references for comparison purposes, and then add a lengthy diatribe about the likely significance the record will have upon the music industry and society as a whole?
Or, should I say fuck that shit and just say what I think without trying to impress anyone?
Let's go with the latter, because if there's one thing I love about Joss Stone's new album "Soul Sessions #2" is that it's completely devoid of gratuitous over-singing pretension or extraneous studio production.
In other words, this album has SOUL, and a lot of it, baby!
Thing is, there is no music style I enjoy more than soul. By definition it's the most authentic of all genres, and I have very little tolerance for bullshit posers in music or in life. It's also got a nice groove you can dance to, heartfelt belting you can cry to, and a timeless quality that never sounds dated.
With that, no singer in the world today, male or female, old or young, has more soul than Joss Stone. When performing live, she pours her heart into her music so deeply she nearly BLEEDS on stage. No "showbiz" bullshit, no posing for audience effect, just a phenomenal singing talent who gets lost getting down to her music, and as a result takes you right down into it with her.
I'm not going to pick favorites on this album because there are too many great ones to choose from, but right away you can tell "While You're Out Looking For Sugar" has the groove to become a smash hit. Of course, many songs are in that get-on-your-feet-and-dance mode with another standout being "First Taste of Hurt", and if you're a fan of "Emotion" by the Bee-Gees (like me) than you'll love "Pillow Talk".
Examples of down-and-dirty power soul, the kind that makes you reach for a hanky, get down on your knees, and scream out "Sing it, sister! Sing it!" would be "Nothing Takes The Place Of You" and "I Don't Wanna Be With Nobody But You". So, so powerful.
She also adds some rocking-it-out soul, with two of the highlights being "The High Road" and "Give More Power To The People". Both just soar, and make your fist pump in the air while belting along with her.
My musical fantasy would be a US tour with my twitter girlfriend, the sultry Haley Reinhart, opening for Joss. Now THAT would be one hot as hell show.
KENNY POO album rating for Soul Sessions: Volume 2: 5 out of 5 stars, and, quite frankly, it's among the best albums I've ever heard. I don't just recommend it, I actually insist that you buy it and then thank me later.