Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joss Stone acclaimed as... wait, what now?

It's that time of the year when magazines, websites, podcasts, television shows, groups, bloggers and Facebook Marketing Entities hand out 'best of the year' accolades.

Billboard has done a list, and amongst the winners this year is Joss Stone.

Joss, it appears, is the Reggae Artist of the Year.

You're surprised. How do you think the Jamaican Observer feels?

Puzzled, the paper has dug into the Billboard archive to see if it had somehow missed Stone being hailed as the greatest modern reggae act. It hadn't:

The album did not impress Billboard magazine writer Steven Horowitz who described Stone’s ‘reggae experiment’ as “unconvincing”.

He added: “For more than a decade, Joss Stone has been a serial genre-hopper. Switching from R&B to blues, funk to rock, the 28-year-old Brit has powered six albums with soulful vocals beyond her years. The songs are technically impressive, as expected from Stone, but unconvincing.”
Makes you wonder what the guy at number two must be like. Some chap called Bobby Marley.

1 comment:

Robin Carmody said...

As I've commented already on here, the fascinating thing about Joss Stone's sudden commercial decline in the UK was that she was criticised by both right-on Lefties and the Daily Mail essentially *for the same reasons*. Had she come from London, both would have been much softer on her (the former because they'd have thought she had more right to take on the music she did because she'd have had more physical contact with black people, the latter because she would have been damned by association in their minds anyway through having had that physical contact) and she'd probably have continued to do a lot better in the UK.

I'm not surprised she has been happier in places where "Devon" and "London" more or less code the same, which might be accused of being based on a PBS-reruns conception of the latter, but I think also recognises far better the effects of modern media and communications on the former. That said, the fact that her album and 'Legend' outsell anything else in the genre is obviously disappointing, although not surprising in a market where it never had the same level of mainstream impact and crossover (most of the reggae hits which made it to the UK charts in the very late 1960s, 1970s & 1980s just didn't get beyond a very narrow, culty world in the US), not least because the connections with Jamaica and its surrounding islands are much less.

Canada has more such ties through the Commonwealth, and much more of its black population is of Caribbean descent - the impact of hip-hop in Canada (as in the UK) was much more filtered through sound system culture and the broader impact of Jamaican popular music/culture than in the US, and Roots Manuva always said that Canadian audiences got what he did in that respect whereas US audiences didn't. That being said, I did quite like some of the Joss Stone songs that David Rodigan played.

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