Share & Connect
If you buy Amy Winehouse’s posthumous album anticipating a record symptomatic to ‘Back to Black,’ I would suggest you readjust your expectations. Possibly, and sadly, the last record we will hear from the soulful songstress, it is just as it as sold: a collection of hidden treasures.
The album was approved by Winehouse’s family before its release. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, described listening to his daughter’s voice once more as “very emotional.” In the end, it was up to her family whether it was to be released or not. “It was a very difficult time for us,” he said, “we all had to be in agreement that the album was of the same quality or better, in fact, than ‘Frank’ and ‘Back to Black,’ and we were more than pleasantly surprised.”
It’s not hard to see why. In this, her third album, we are shown how truly diverse she and her famous voice were. There are many inspired covers, unusual duets, and a return to the jazzy roots that started her career with the under-the-radar debut album ‘Frank.’
The beginning track, ‘Our Day Will Come,’ is an excellent opening to pull in fans of both reggae and 60′s motown alike. A cover of the 1963 classic by Ruby and the Romantics, a new modern reggae spin has been added into the mix, and Winehouse’s voice has never sounded so fresh. She is like a different person; the tone is light, happy and devoid of the deep, slurred notes in many of her heavier songs.
We are eased into the album with many tracks supported by the classic Winehouse/Ronson beat that is so familiar to our bones, yet the singing becomes more abstract and scatty, reminiscent of her jazzy days. ‘Like Smoke’ has qualities of ‘He Can Only Hold Her’ around it and sees her pairing with rapper Nas, with whom she was rumoured to be close and even honoured in the song ‘Me and Mr. Jones.’
Halfway in, songs, such as ‘Halftime’ and a new version of ‘Wake Up Alone,’ present what seems to be Winehouse in her most comfortable place. The beat is relaxed, the melody is more intangible, and Winehouse’s voice rings out with personal lyrics about her love of jazz: “My lyrics revealing some natural vibes / Some kind of laidback feeling / Oh, just let it ride.”
The last song on the album can only be described as the perfect encapsulation of Winehouse. The soulfulness with which she sings Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song For You’ is strictly divine and a true testament to the original version.
A snippet of the singer’s thoughts on Hathaway have been left on the end of the track, provoking comparison between the two and their troubled lives: Hathaway suffered greatly from depression and paranoid schizophrenia. He died tragically at the age of thirty-three. Winehouse comments pensively, “He couldn’t contain himself…he had something in him, you know?”
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/65386099@N05/