It began with a flurry of platitudes. Who was this long-legged teenage ingénue from Devon with the husky soul sister voice? The Grammys and Brit Awards followed, as did 11 million album sales. But around 2007, when Stone hit 20, things went awry. At the Brits, the barefoot beaut debuted the rounded vowels of Alicia Keys (she has since regained her accent), the public laughed and began to lose interest. Earlier this year she appeared in an ad for Cesar dog food.
Then in June two men are arrested, their bungled plan to murder the singer thwarted. ‘People are crazy… they need a hug,’ said Stone recently. ‘Like, can’t you do something better with your Tuesday?’ And so
to Stone’s fifth LP, her first on her own imprint and a collaboration with The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. As always, the vocals are effortless, but her songs are lacking in the genre her pipes were built for: soul. It’s too slick, it lacks oomph and, compared to the tear-prick vulnerability of, say, Adele, this is parental dinner party Muzak.