Let us start with the most glaringly obvious: “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” is long. Stupid long. Twenty-nine tracks, 93-minutes long. It is so long, track 14 is nothing but a one-minute-and-17-second-long oasis of silence appropriately titled “Intermission.” As one might expect from a musical experience this involved, “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” is absolutely sprawling. One moment, front man Patrick Stickles is doing his best Meatloaf impression on “I Lost My Mind,” the next, the band is chewing the musical scenery with Muse-inspired guitars, as on “Stranded.” If you are new to the Titus Andronicus experience, heaven help you, because this is not a starter album. It is, however, worth the effort. Buried within all the self-reflection and self-referencing is some of the best music Titus Andronicus has ever made. Conceptually dense, artistically enthralling and mentally daunting all that the same time, “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” is the least lamentable thing the band has done.
Joss Stone is clearly in a portion of her career where she is trying to find her sound. She needs to keep looking. “Water For Your Soul” is a Reggae-infused album that works about as well as you would expect a Reggae album from a 20-something English white girl to work. She clearly has a strong affinity for Reggae, but, just like that girl at work who went to Jamaica for vacation and came back with beaded cornrows that she refuses to take out, all the posturing starts to feel a little forced and obnoxious after a bit. The flat, uninspired tone of the album is so grating that by the time you get to songs that might actually be decent (“Star”), you are so annoyed with the whole project that you just do not care.