Written by Samantha Evans
For just a little over 10 years, Joss Stone has wowed critics, fans, and audiences alike with her soulful voice. From her very first record deal at the tender age of 15 to now, Stone has had the influence of Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and others with the voice to match. Throughout her career she has dabbled amongst different genres including, R&B, blues, funk and rock. With “Water for Your Soul,” her 7th studio album, she experiments with more of a reggae undertone.
“Love Me,” “Way Oh,” “Molly Town,” and “Cut the Line” are just the reggae experimental songs that I was talking about previously. “Love Me,” the album opener, is a cry to a lover with slow reggae beats and simplistic lyrics. “Love me from your heart. Love me from your soul. Take me as the one you chose. Promise you my eyes, put your lips on my kiss.” “Cut the Line” quickens the pace with a distorted guitar and a pulsing drum beat. The backup vocals in “Way Oh” are such a simplistic notion however make the song almost haunting. “Molly Town” is a very playful song about first meeting a boy and the “rest is history.” “What is a girl like me to do? Not for a second can I leave you. Been here a month and I know your smile. My heart is thinking I’ll stay a while.”
Playing with a more funk/soul sound, “This Ain’t Love” and “Clean Water” have that funky bass line that makes you want to bob your head along to the beat. “This Ain’t Love” has bongo beats and a hint of strings along with the funky bass. “Baby won’t you realize. You know that I’m not your prize. Now, why we wasting our time? To me, you’re nothing at all.” Introducing a Spanish guitar to the mix, “Clean Water” is an anthem for a clean slate, an anthem for those that have that “you can do anything you put your mind to” attitude. “Hold up your head, be strong.”
The rest of the album continues with the same message with different genres throughout. Stone belts out her feelings in “Stuck on You,” wanting to stay, wanting to go but falling deeper in the end. “Been pushed to a core I wish I could walk away but there’s something about you. Baby it’s everything. Draw me in and makes me wanna need you, need to want you. Makes me wanna stay but the deeper I fall, the faster you run away.” Amping up the listener slowly with strings, slight drum beats, and distinct guitar picking, “Star” attracts the listener from the start. Another feel good anthem chanting, “we are who we are,” and “Did you know that there’s a star guiding everyone?” “The more I fight the day, the more it drags on. No blues can sing it away. I just got to press on.” “Let Me Breathe” is Stone’s plea to keep away from the darkness of a bad day, bad relationship, begging to gain control of her life again.
Possibly one of the more fun songs on the album, “Wake Up” shouts to the listener with beaming piano chords and drum beats telling you to do just that, wake up! “Wake up! What is all of this nonsense? Why can’t we be conscious of what we’re feeding our people?” “Underworld” and “Sensimilla” slow it down a bit so that you can truly hear the smooth, soulful vocals that everyone came to know and love when they first heard Joss Stone. Playing with the reggae tunes again, “Harry’s Symphony” is a tale of the “herbal experience.” Calling out that “this one is designed for 18 and over” and “a friend in need is a friend indeed but a friend with weed is better.” Closing out the album, “The Answer” has fun beats, jamming guitars, soulful melodies, and even a touch of the fiddle. Chanting, “Let go. You need to let you go, you gotta let go. Find your strength, find your peace. There’s a light in your release. Let love win just give in. The next is bright so you can see…the answer.”
A vast array of different tones, stories and beats, Water For Your Soul is just that. A variety of anecdotes and remedies that you could use toward your own life.
Album rating: 7 of 10