It is certain that my sure to be glowing review of Lioness: Hidden Treasures would be received as “biased.” Thus, I will just deliver a few words on what the album means to me and what I believe it will accomplish.
Since I am in the USA, I could not get my claws into the cellophane until this morning. I hit the big-box stores and did more than my share to run-up the chart numbers; my multiple AMZN preorders should be in the mail by Wednesday or Thursday, but I needed some extras for gifts and prizes, anyway. And, of course, I wanted to gauge the traffic for myself.
At both TGT and WMT, there was brisk business in the music department. Lots of folks had Amy merch in hand. I was pretty sure I was going to cry standing in the lines – had that bad “hurt feelings” burn in my throat – but I managed to keep the dam standing.
Anybody who thinks I didn’t crank-up the music before I cranked-up the car is not thinking clearly. Driving back to the ranch, I relished every note and cried more than a bit. Safe at home, I unwrapped another and slid it into the big machine; it sounds great and it makes me both happy and sad.
I fully understand the primal need of reviewers to attempt to compare and contrast LHT with AJW’s two primary previous offerings, Frank and Back To Black. But, those critics who succumb to that need are cheating themselves and their readers.
If I was going to review LHT, I would ask only one question of myself:
Would this album stand on its own as a premier sampler, if I had never heard of AJW?
My answer would be a very loud “YES!”
Lioness: Hidden Treasures is, all at once, the ultimate style retrospective; the greatest diversity menu; the most touching historical record; and, the finest primer on the whole of the genius that is Amy Jade Winehouse. Her love and respect for the past is clearly outlined, her eclectic tastes are detailed, her massive skills – both dynamic and subtle – are exposed, her life-journey is superbly mapped, and her huge enduring promise is revealed in a way that even the most unknowing listener should find impossible to resist.
Henceforth, when a potential Amy fan asks me which album I recommend that they start with, I will tell them, without hesitation, LHT is the pinnacle of primers. Lose your cherry on LHT and only then will you really be ready – and likely desperate – to get down heavy with Amy.
While those of us who love AJW will swim in tear river while LHT plays, her future lovers will be intrigued by the sweet offerings, and many virgins will surely be driven into her arms for life. No artist has likely ever had a better promotional commercial for previous works than is provided by Lioness: Hidden Treasures.
Though I am sadder today than I was on the day she went away, I am happy that the acceptance and success of LHT will help assure new audiences for the works of the JadeMermaid Princess for decades to come. Obviously, no album is adequate solace for the unspeakable loss we have suffered, but we should all be grateful for LHT and proud that we are privileged to be forever devotees of our magnificent Lioness.
Hat Tip To: Remi, Ronson, and AJW’s family for delivering LHT to us. Thank you for a fabulous gift from the heartbroken to the brokenhearted.