Lioness: Hidden Treasures
We all knew it would come out eventually, it was just a matter of when. It’s a hard pill to swallow that Amy left so early in her career with so much promise in her future. She was only getting started, but it never really seemed like she was going to be able to pull herself together enough to become truly successful, or truly happy. Many bands have come and reworked the sounds of the 60’s into modern rock once again (ie The Strokes, The Hives, The Redwalls, Dr. Dog) But Amy and the pioneering team of producers behind her were spearheading the revival of that beloved Motown sound that had been missing in music for over 40 years. It was brilliant … She was brilliant. Unfortunately her untimely death has ceased any further progress, but rather than letting the unfinished demos/recordings lay wasted on their hard drive, producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi have hand picked and reworked a few tracks for Amy’s first posthumous compilation album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures. Both brilliant producers have their fingerprints all over this album, essentially constructing/producing every track on the album aside from two (“Wake Up Alone”, “Body and Soul”).
The album does very well for the purpose it is trying to serve, throwing out a few covers and a few unreleased originals. A few tracks have already been heard my most Amy fans, but with slight twists. “Tears Dry” (Amy original released on Back to Black) has been slowed down to a much sadder, slightly sexier, but much less fun version of the original, while The Zutons cover “Valerie” seems more simple, yet more fun than ever before.
My favorite track is definitely “Like Smoke”, in which Nas guests stars and dominates. The extremely sexy “The Girl from Impanema” was also a very nice surprise. Amy’s voice couldn’t be better for the smoothness and sexiness of that track, and it’s about time someone had her sing it.
^Sexy voice, beautiful flow, brilliant artist … Amy isn’t bad on this track either.
Loading the album with covers is clearly expected, and I don’t think it hinders the album too much. Especially because each cover sounds like it could be one of Amy’s songs herself, and not only that, but some could get confused by the fact that it wasn’t recorded in the 60’s. However, it does give off more of a “cover album” vibe than anything. No truly inspired feel to the album, it’s missing a lot of love and thought.
Overall, I believe this album to be a must for any huge Amy fans out there. It brings in that same classic Motown sound, while still maintaining the modern presence, lyrics (on her originals), and feel of Amy Winehouse. But on the whole, I don’t think its an album to write home about or deliberate over too much. It was produced extremely well, but was also mainly produced so that more money could be made in the name of Amy Winehouse. Nonetheless, give it a whirl if you feel like taking a blast from the past, but best not to have high expectations of any sort.
Can’t Miss: “Like Smoke”, “The Girl from Ipanema”, “Valerie’
Can’t Hit: “Body and Soul”, “Tears Dry” (much prefer the B2B version)