Joss Stone Colour Me Free

Joss Stone Colour Me Free
Released on the heels of a well-publicized feud with her label, and with a title like Colour Me Free, Joss Stone's fourth offering should be a declaration of independence and an artistic coming of age. But, wait a minute! Wasn't that what 2007's Introducing Joss Stone was supposed to be. Never mind, the same problem that has haunted Stone since her 2003 debut (the all covers The Soul Sessions, which is still her best effort to date) remains: a lack of strong original material to match her often-stunning voice. The girl can sing, and this set is not without its share of winners. "Free Me," which samples the Meters' "Do The Dirt," is an affable funk gem with some appropriately self-assertive lyrics, a sassy vocal workout that gets this thing off with a bang. The sternly atmospheric, anti-war themed "Governmentalist," featuring Nas, does indeed showcase a more mature Stone. But there are low peaks between high valleys, and weaker songs like "Girlfriend on Demand" and "Stalemate," featuring Jamie Hartman, seem almost calculatedly destined to languish in the purgatory of adult contemporary radio. An artist of Joss Stone's talent deserves more. She may be free but she's still a work in progress. (Virgin/EMI)