'Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures' Reviews

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AMY WINEHOUSE
Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures | PA

Amy Winehouse's highly anticipated posthumous album was released on Friday and, as expected, fans' feelings towards it have been mixed.

The album was put together by two of Winehouse's favourite producers, her friend Mark Ronson - who famously collaborated with the singer on Zutons' cover Valerie - and Salaam Remi who worked with her on her debut LP Frank.

Critics have claimed the record, which features 12 tracks made up of unreleased material, covers and alternative versions of previously released tracks, should never have been released - their argument being that, had they been Winehouse's finest songs, they would have made the cut while she was alive.

Ronson also admitted he initially said no to making a legacy album - because he was still mourning her death.

However, Winehouse's family, particularly her father Mitch, said they would not have released the album unless they thought it reached the standard of her previous records.

Her father recently told The Press Association: "It was very emotional. But we had to sit through it and after the first couple of songs we sort of calmed down a little bit. Our son was there as well and 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."

Her family are pleased with the album, which features tracks such as a reggae version of Our Day Will Come and The Girl From Ipanema, both recorded in May 2002, and versions of her classics such as Valerie, as well as Body & Soul, a duet with Tony Bennett, and her final studio recording in March 2011.

But what have the reviews been like?

The Metro says: "Lioness is presented with genuine tenderness and it never paints Winehouse as a tragic diva stereotype."

It concludes that: "Essentially, the material on Lioness should have been a foundation, not a memorial, but it feels like a passionate affair. The end notes are sweet, full of unmistakable personality and resonance."

The Guardian's reviewer Kitty Empire says: "Ultimately, Lioness is a flawed memorial for a flawed star, whose churning guts were every bit as defining as her distinctive voice. The retro classicists are aggressively claiming Amy for their own here, when in fact Winehouse was so much more than just canon-fodder."

The Independent calls the album "a rag-bag of bits and bobs from the vaults, spanning her career".

It adds: "Inevitably, it doesn't hang together with the unity of Frank or Back to Black. Despite the best efforts of compiler Mark Ronson and producer Salaam Remi, Lioness reinforces what we already knew: Winehouse was, in every sense, wasted."

The Mirror states: "Despite its weaknesses, Lioness has big helpings of quality in between makeweight moments - enough to bring on the mourning and might-have-beens once again."

While Lioness won't be considered Amy's best album, it probably shouldn't be judged by such a high bar, as it was never meant to be.

The question is - would we rather have never heard these tracks, or should they have remained hidden from her fans?

For me, a longtime fan, releasing this album has done nothing to harm her musical legacy and, flawed though it may be, it is just one final treat for her fans.

And, not to forget, part of the money raised from its sale will go towards her charity - the Amy Winehouse Foundation - set up after she died in July, to provide help, support or care for young people.

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