Top critical review
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on 13 December 2011
Even though I am an Amy fan I feel I shall have to assume to role of Devil's Advocate. I bought this album in good faith, with the understanding that like so many other posthumous releases it may be a little raw. I think Mitch Winehouse's assertion, that it stood comparison with her two previous releases: Frank and Back To Black while understandable, was inaccurate. For a start Lioness: Hidden Treasures was only partially Amy's work. She was both a prodigy and a perfectionist and I simply do not feel this album would have been up to her exacting musical standards. Our Day Will Come was a genuinely plesant surprise as were the original version of Tears Dry and Wake Up Alone. The rest of it was O.K but I found the overly elaborate arrangement on Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? and A Song For You, actually detracted from her vocal. If Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi had decided to keep it simple and allowed her voice to shine, conceeding that this is a DEMO album I think I would have enjoyed it for what it was. The fact is Amy decided against releasing these songs because SHE wasn't satisfied with them. Amy wrote in a very autobiographical and narrative style, her two previous albums had a linear chronology which was lacking in this release. It feels like what it is, an assortment of the producers favourite demos selected from several years of accumulated material. Not being an executive at Island records I have no idea if Amy had assembled the skeleton of a brand new album or if she simply recorded what she felt like, when she was feeling up to it. To draw a comparison with another artist, Buddy Holly died in an accident at the peak of his powers, leaving a number of impressive demos which were later polished up and released to general acclaim. Amy had been ill for some time which is also sadly noticable on some of the later tracks. Only time will tell what releases will be made in the future by her estate. I somehow doubt she would be happy with them. Taking the rough with the smooth it was nice to hear some better known songs in embyronic form and see the creative process in action. Also some of the proceeds from the album sales go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a legacy, which I feel would have been far more likely to meet with her approval.