They say that once a person departs from this Earth, that we give their body of work a closer, more touching look. That perhaps is the case, but with Amy Winehouse – despite her minimal projects, each exude a more poignant feeling since her departure. Lioness – Hidden Treasures is the first posthumous album from Winehouse. A collection of twelve songs, they are in effect a jazzy compilation of consternations, covers, and sentimental standards that showcase a singer whose vocals exhibit something that these days is hard to come by.
The reggae opener, “Our Day Will Come,” begins the project and despite it’s under three minute clocking, is a well performed remake of the classic crafted by Ruby & The Romantics. Winehouse’s effects make for an enjoyable experience throughout the easy listening act and are one of the better covers since the song’s 1963 release. “Tears Dry on Their Own,” written by Winehouse herself, was featured on 2006’s Back to Black. Here it is in its original version and has a melody that draws images of a smoky lounge with Winehouse singing behind a mic effectively delivering a kind of Dinah Washington/Billie Holiday performance.
“Like Smoke,” features rapper Nas and was also penned by Winehouse. The song itself is a welcomed addition to Lioness: Hidden Treasures, not for its amazing rendition but for the personal touches Winehouse adds to the lyrics. This, while most often is the case with singers who sing their own material, is unmistakable on the song. “Valerie,” a remake made famous by Amy Winehouse finds its way on this collection and while not as jazzy as the single released by her and Mark Ronson, still manages to keep the noteworthiness that Winehouse brought to the song. A song about a romantic entanglement, Winehouse take a profound account to new heights.
Her remake of Stan Getz’s “The Girl From Ipanema,” strays from the glistening effects added by Astrud Gilberto and João Gilberto, but keeps with the treasuring aspects of the overall album itself. It is a snappy and peppy scat of the song, whereas the original is a bossa nova that became one of the most recognized jazz compositions.
Where Winehouse shines is her remarkable ability to pierce through the heart of the listener. The passion she puts into the lyrics is a combination of intense zeal and thunderstruck astonishment. This is especially evident on “Wake Up Alone,” a bluesy, yet captivating song about the distresses of being in the midst of a solitary abandonment and “Best Friends, Right?” which could be noted as being Lioness‘ masterpiece – the true hidden treasure among the collection.
Winehouse delivers some of her best singing and seems at peace in a sea of melodies that are indulging and soothing. The last two compositions on Lioness: Hidden Treasures are “Body & Soul,” Winehouse’s final recording that she did with legend, Tony Bennett and a rendition of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You.” Each are unique in their own right – the former offerring a harp and piano driven cadence that is a sweet nostalgic heriloom, while the latter diverts from the somber pathways former coverers have enchanted the song with and thrills with a beguiling and delightful performance by Winehouse.
What makes Lioness: Hidden Treasures magnificent is not Winehouse’s untimely farewell, as this project could have been released while Winehouse was living, but the versatile dimensions Winehouse’s timbre offers to each keepsake found here.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures receives a PARLÉ
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