Monday 5 December 2011

Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures

Now don't get me wrong, the death of Amy Winehouse was a tragic loss of talent.  A unique vocalist, she will be sorely missed.  But is this really a fitting tribute?

The title of this album is somewhat misleading.  As with many albums of this type, there's a reason these tracks were previously unreleased - treasures they ain't.  Three of the tracks, Tears Dry, Valerie and Wake Up Alone, are merely demo versions of songs we all know and love.  They may be fascinating musical excursions, but ultimately they don't stand up to the "official" versions.  Then there are covers such as Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and The Girl From Ipanema, classic songs given the Winehouse treatment but not worth the price of admission.

Then we're left with the new songs.  They cover the full range of stylistic influences, from the modern soul of Like Smoke featuring a rap by Nas, to the classy jazz of Body And Soul, the duet with Tony Bennett.  The album highlight is Half Time, with an opening reminiscent of Corinne Bailey Rae that smoothly glides into a piece of jazz-soul complete with flute and vibraphone.  But we equally have to endure Our Day Will Come, the current saccharine and (now) ironically titled single.  If this is indicative of her next album, it hardly reveals a change of direction.  Like her previous material, the album certainly continues to show off Winehouse's outstanding vocal ability, but isn't anything particularly new and lacks the gutsy punch of tracks like Rehab or You Know I'm No Good.

Really, this is just another example of a greedy record company capitalising on a grievous situation.  Would re-releases of her previous albums not have sufficed?  Only Winehouse afficianados need apply.


Gizzle Choice Tracks
* Half Time
* Tears Dry