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December 2, 2011 11:50 pm
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Lioness is presented as a fitting memorial to Amy Winehouse – her father says it wouldn’t have been released if the family hadn’t felt it was up to the standard of Frank and Back to Black – but the results fall short.
There are studio sweepings (a ponderous take on Back to Black’s “Tears Dry” that rightly didn’t make the final cut); songs that have appeared elsewhere (a forthright version of The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, from the soundtrack to a Bridget Jones film); and tracks dating from her later, troubled years, including a misfiring duet with one of her heroes, the rapper Nas, and a song neatly titled “Between the Cheats”, sung at first expressively by Winehouse, but then in an increasingly wayward manner.
The best moment comes at the end, a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “Song for You” featuring a smoky, confiding lead vocal and ornate orchestral trip-hop. Too late, Lioness gives the singer the memorial she deserves.
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