The highly anticipated posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures was officially released today amidst mixed reviews and high emotion. Amy‘s father, Mitch Winehouse, has expressed how emotional the process of producing the album has been, saying, “The estate, which I’m a part of – my ex-wife and I – we could decide to put it out or not put it out, and when we went to listen to the album it was a very difficult time for us. It was very emotional.” It seemed, on all accounts, that the sheer poignancy of Amy’s death would be enough to carry the album, and to have it connect with her legions of fans and admirers. However, the album, now released, has been met with mixed reviews.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls Lioness: Hidden Treasures “sublime,” “nostalgic, wine-soaked heaven.” The Guardian, however, was not so forgiving, acknowledging that the album is revealing of Amy’s struggles, but that it is subpar considering the strength of Frank and Back To Black. Cynically, the Guardian review surmises, “Presumably it was felt that was what was wanted by the audience Lioness: Hidden Treasures is expected to attract: not the kind of diehard fans who normally flock to posthumous collections of out-takes and demos, but mainstream record buyers, Radio 2 listeners, the Christmas market. Which, of course, tells you something else about Amy Winehouse,” positioning the album essentially as a cash grab by Amy’s estate.
The mixed reviews have left us in two minds: on one hand, we’re disappointed that an album we’ve been hanging out for has been met quite controversially, but on the other hand we’re not sure that a posthumous release deserves to much scrutiny. Of course Amy’s unfinished work isn’t going to be of the same quality as the recordings she finished before her death — and isn’t that the point? Does a posthumous release need to be a polished album, up to the standard of albums made in a performer’s life time, or can it simply just be an opportunity to honor someone’s life through the raw, haphazard detritus they left behind? Can we find perfection in imperfection?
Amy Winehouse family ‘very emotional’ over new album [NME]
Amy Winehouse: Lioness: Hidden Treasures – review [The Guardian]
Music Review: Amy Winehouse – Lioness: Hidden Treasures [Seattle Post Intelligencer]