Jus­tice not done to tal­ent

South Waikato News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Li­on­ess: Hid­den Trea­sures has been pub­li­cised as Amy Wine­house’s third al­bum – a bold claim, con­sid­er­ing it is largely com­prised of old record­ings that didn’t make it onto her first two re­leases.

The first track, a cover of 60s clas­sic Our Day Will Come, is heart- break­ing to lis­ten to in the wake of 27- year- old Wine­house’s un­timely death in July.

Her voice is pure and some­times girl­ish; the lyrics are full of op­ti­mism: ‘‘Our day will come / And we’ll have every­thing’’.

Many of the tracks are fa­mil­iar but dif­fer­ent enough to be in­ter­est­ing.

An early record­ing of Tears Dry on Their Own stands out: it is slower and more world­weary than the up­beat ver­sion that ap­peared on Back to Black.

But the real trea­sures are Wine­house’s pre­vi­ously un­heard com­po­si­tions, Be­tween the Cheats (‘‘My hus­band is the finest hand­some hustler / And he still makes this house­wife blush’’) and the jazzy, haunt­ing Half Time.

They are as strong as any­thing on Back to Black; they alone make the al­bum worth pur­chas­ing.

There are a few mis­steps: Body and Soul, a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tony Ben­nett and the al­bum’s first sin­gle, is ac­tu­ally one of the weaker tracks.

The pair­ing with rap­per Nas on Like Smoke is awk­ward and Will You Still Love Me To­mor­row is al­most ru­ined by an in­sis­tent march­ing­band drum­beat.

So does Li­on­ess hold its own against Frank and Back to Black?

Not quite, if only be­cause half the tracks are cov­ers.

Wine­house’s lyrics were what set her apart: sar­donic, witty, raw and self­dep­re­cat­ing, they made au­di­ences take no­tice.

While she owed much of her sound to 60s soul mu­sic, jazz and reg­gae, her provoca­tive lyrics ( like the im­mor­tal ‘‘They tried to make me go to re­hab, I said no, no, no’’) breathed new life into these gen­res.

Wine­house’s writ­ing took her be­yond the realm of a nov­elty throw­back act, and that orig­i­nal­ity is lack­ing on much of Li­on­ess.

But the voice

is

jaw- drop­ping, the fa­mil­iar songs are still ex­cit­ing, and the new songs are mostly ex­cel­lent.

Li­on­ess show­cases the breadth of Wine­house’s tal­ent, and re­minds us just how tragic a loss her death was.

SUB­TLE RE­MINDER: Amy Wine­house’s Li­on­ess: Hid­den Trea­sures is a re­minder of her tal­ent.

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