Lioness (CD) Amy Winehouse
Barry C Chung
Amy Winehouse's death in July left a gaping hole in the music world. Few artists before or since match her distinctive style, stellar vocals and honest lyrics. As expected, a posthumous album has been released, a tribute to the talented yet deeply troubled singer.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures features 12covers, unreleased tracks and reworked originals compiled by long-time friends Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, co-producers on her 2006 breakout album Back to Black.
The collection is a mixed bag. Winehouse's contralto shines on the nostalgic journey to the 1960s - big hair and all - in the slowed-down Shirelles cover Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
However, Like Smoke, which features gifted rapper and close friend Nas, is a letdown. He is smooth, but lyrically not what you'd expect from the self-styled Nastradamus. Amy's smoky vocals are soulful, but the song doesn't feel like a unified whole: for example, some of Nas' lyrics refer to Occupy Wall Street, which began months after her death.
Winehouse more than holds her own in Body and Soul, a duet with jazz legend Tony Bennett that is surely an accurate prediction of how Motown would sound today.
This is no Back to Black: few records could match that, but Hidden Treasures is an essential listen for any Winehouse fan.