Winehouse had started working on new material for her third album, but she tragically passed away before the project could be completed.
To be clear, this is not her third LP, but rather a compilation put together by her two producers and close friends Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi. The tracks on Lioness, which include many jazz standards (such as ‘Body and Soul’, her duet with Tony Bennett), are a collection of tracks that range from before her debut album, Frank, to right before her death.
Remi and Ronson, however, do an excellent job of sequencing Lioness to make it flow like an album.
Tracks like ‘Between the Cheats’ and ‘Best Friends, Right?’ are vintage Winehouse. The former, most likely written about her troubled relationship with her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, reminds me of the first song off of Frank, ‘Stronger than Me’.
Again, ‘Best Friends’ touches on the familiar topic of disgruntled love, as Winehouse can tell a story over sultry jazz backdrops better than anyone, with lyrics like “So I had love for you when I was four, / And there’s no one I wanna smoke with more.”
Another stand-out moment is ‘Like Smoke’, which features Winehouse’s professed favourite rapper of all time, Nas. Nas, who recorded his two stellar verses after her passing, says on the track, “I be out in London, Camden / Huntin’ for the answers, why did God take away the homie? / I can’t stand it. I’m a firm believer that we all meet up in eternity.”
This is an excellent release for what Winehouse’s camp had to work with, which honestly wasn’t much. But just hearing her voice one last time should be good enough to satisfy any fan of the late great singer.