Trib­ute to a trou­bled soul

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

THE re­lease of Bri­tish soul singer Amy Wine­house’s first post­hu­mous al­bum in time for Christ­mas should sur­prise no one.

But even the most cyn­i­cal mu­sic scribe would ad­mit it’s nice to hear her voice back on their itunes playlist so soon af­ter her un­timely death.

Li­on­ess: Hid­den Trea­sures is not her proper third al­bum, it’s more a col­lec­tion of odds and ends.

Fans will clam­our for it and it’ll land atop the charts all over the globe.

It is a per­fectly en­joy­able al­bum that leans heav­ily on cover ver­sions.

And yet com­pared with Frank and Back to Black, it lacks the ‘‘ story’’ that made her de­but and fol­low- up so en­thralling.

Among the dozen songs there are some in­ter­est­ing nuggets. Just two tunes hint at the di­rec­tion her third al­bum might have taken.

Be­tween the Cheats, most likely a tune about her ex- hubby, is a fab­u­lous blend of retro and modern pop mu­sic.

Like Smoke gives a nod to Frank’s jazz- meets- rap style, with none other than New York leg­end Nas on guest vo­cals. The touch­ing Body and Soul was her fi­nal stu­dio record­ing, and a duet with Mr Tony Ben­nett no less. It is worth the price of ad­mis­sion alone.

Half Time stands out from the pack with a jazzy flavour and new drums by The Roots’ band leader Quest­love, who was said to be in talks with Wine­house about a side project.

Wine­house’s cover of ’ 60s bossa- nova hit The Girl from Ipanema shows just how great her voice was at an early age. Strong, con­fi­dent, unique. She was just 18 when she recorded this song – amaz­ing.

Not as vi­tal are the orig­i­nal ver­sions of Tears Dry and Wake Up Alone or the ’ 68 ver­sion of Va­lerie, es­pe­cially the lat­ter. There are oo­dles of in­ter­pre­ta­tions float­ing around on the Frank deluxe edi­tion and Mark Ron­son’s 2007 al­bum Ver­sions.

One of the al­bum’s best songs is hid­den away at the end, A Song for You. Writ­ten by Rock ’ n’ Roll Hall of Fame in­ductee Leon Rus­sell, this song is a prime ex­am­ple of an artist tak­ing a great tune and mak­ing it her own. It’s a slow, painful plea to an es­tranged lover for for­give­ness, it is way up Wine­house’s al­ley.

There are cer­tainly bet­ter pop singers out there. More tech­ni­cally gifted vo­cal­ists, sure.

But few, if any, re­cently, are so drenched in pain and emo­tion and tur­moil in ev­ery note.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.