Posted by: on Dec 6, 2011 | No Comments

Reviewed by Adam Ward


After the worldwide success of Amy Winehouse’s second album ‘Back to
Black,’ released way back in October 2006, her third album was debatably going
to be one of the most eagerly awaited releases in the music industry. But as we
all know since that success, things did not go quite to plan.

Island Records co-president Ted Cockle has emphasised that Lioness
is not in any way the planned follow-up to Back to Black. Apparently, only two
songs intended for the planned follow-up had been completed prior to her death.
This album includes previously unreleased tracks, original recordings of
existing songs and her final studio sessions.

It kicks off with ‘Our Day Will Come’ the second single released off
the album, which is a cover of the 1963 number one hit for Ruby & The
Romantics. Radio stations have been playing it for the last month. With
Winehouse’s uniquely recognisable voice and jazzy beat, similar to ‘Just
Friends,’ it seems sad that someone so talented and seemingly so full of life
is no longer with us, just consigned to music’s history and tragedy with so
many others.

One of the highlights of this album, is listening to the original
recordings of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ and ‘Wake Up Alone.’ It gives you the
chance to feel the emotion and passion that went into these songs, and realise
how well lyrically written they are, something you perhaps don’t appreciate on
the up-beat versions released on the Back to Black record. The original version
of ‘Valerie’ is also on the album.

Of the new material, track two, ‘Between the Cheats’ is my
favourite. It has a mellow feel to it, but at the same time you feel you are
being told a story of how it was during her relationships, with a bit of Amy’s
tongue and cheek at the same time. There is also something for you rap fans
with ‘Like Smoke’. Which features Nas, who MTV rank at number five on their
list of greatest MCs of all time. No doubt if released it would be a sure-fire
number one. The other new songs ‘Half Time’ and ‘Best Friends, Right?’ are well
written, easy listening tracks. However, I feel they would perhaps not have
made her intended third album, as they are not as edgy as most of her usual
material, but they are very good none the less.

There are a few covers. The first-release from the album ‘Body and
Soul’ with every nan’s favourite Tony Bennett, which was released on the 14th
September in commemoration of what would have been Winehouse’s twenty-eighth
birthday. There are also versions of ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ and
‘The Girl from Ipanema’ which has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra
to the Four Seasons. They are all brilliant, and without sounding too X Factor
cliche, she really has made them sound her own.

The twelve track album concludes with ‘A Song For You’ which was one
of Donny Hathaway’s signature songs. As the track finishes, Amy says of
Hathaway “He couldn’t contain himself, he had something in him you know.” A
sentence you could quite easily associate with Amy Winehouse herself.

Although left with the feeling Island Records are still holding some
of her recordings back, it is still a must have album for any music fan and
would be a great Christmas gift, which must have been their intention, hence
the December release.