Album Reviews: Stone Love by Angie StoneOne look at the cover of Angie Stone’s new album and you know that this lady is old school. Even a guest spot by Snoop Dogg can’t distract from Stone Love’s supremely ‘70s soul vibe.
Stone’s always stood in the shadows of flashier neo-soul divas like Erykah Badu and Macy Gray, but with this disc, her third, that’s about to change. While Badu and Gray have never quite lived up to the promise of their debuts, Stone just keeps getting better. Stone Love is her most consistent set yet, overflowing with smoky ballads and groovy midtempo meditations on love and sex, all delivered from a refreshingly gangsta-free, grownup perspective.
Snoop’s entertaining turn on the lead single, “I Wanna Thank Ya,” will get Stone Love some much-deserved attention, but in many ways his “jazzifizzle” shtick is the least of the album’s charms. Even better are guest spots by the female R&B duo Floetry and the velvet-voiced Anthony Hamilton, who is a perfect foil to Stone’s sweetly seductive trills on “Stay For a While.” The time-warp production is top-notch throughout, especially on the horn-drenched “Lovers’ Ghetto” and “Come Home,” with its gorgeous harp figure. But the best part of Stone Love is Angie Stone herself, whose endlessly warm, flexible voice comfortably inhabits every nook and cranny of these 12 ultra-soulful songs. - Andy Hermann
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