Album review: Amy Winehouse’s ‘Lioness’
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“Why did God take the homie? I can’t stand it,” raps Nas on “Like Smoke,” a fine soul-noir track from Amy Winehouse’s new posthumous compilation “Lioness: Hidden Treasures.” “I’m a firm believer that we all meet up in eternity,” he raps in his ode to a friendship cut short.
“Lioness” only begins to hint at the kind of affection Winehouse inspired — she duets with rap icons and Tony Bennett here. That’s because for all Winehouse’s deep, fatal flaws, her immense talent was fueled by a compelling openness and vulnerability.
“Between the Cheats” is pristine girl-group weeper, but Winehouse takes the occasion for a rangy, limber vocal workout. A regal cover of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” comes off less as morning-after trepidation than a self-aware plea for forgiveness. And Winehouse absolutely steals “Body & Soul” out from under Bennett, no mean feat when you’re up against one of the genre’s celestial crooners.
The 12-song compilation is slight on new insights — it’s hard to tell what an umpteenth version of “Girl From Ipanema” adds to her legacy. But as vault-emptying collections go, “Lioness” helps rebut the tabloid qualities of her life and death, and return some of the focus back to what won her such allegiance — her voice.
“Lioness: Hidden Treasures”
Two and a half stars (Out of four)
— August Brown