When Amy Winehouse’s voice first makes its debut on opener “Our Day Will Come,” one cannot help but be pulled in. After Winehouse’s death, her record company released an album with miscellaneous recordings of her they accumulated over the years.
“Our Day Will Come” is probably the best song on the album, and at times it might even making you forget that she is gone. The next song, though, “Between the Cheats” is underwhelming. It struggles to find a cohesive sound, which results in a somewhat chaotic listening experience. On “The Girl from Ipanema” Winehouse loses some of her charm and sounds almost unoriginal. “Half Time” is a good listen and sounds more like songs from “Back to Black,” but it is nowhere near as charming or witty as the best songs from that album. “Like Smoke” is a valiant effort to provide a modern slant on her classic voice. Her cover of “Valerie” though, surprisingly hosts the records most impressive vocal performance. It reminds listeners of all the things they loved about Winehouse.
It is a sad fact that most good art comes from people who have struggled. Experiencing pain enables artists to express the whole range of human emotions. Amy Winehouse was always struggling, and when she died this past year, the world lost one of its greatest artists. Her voice was unique, but it was not what made her famous. Instead, it was the undeniable raw emotion people felt when her music played through their headphones.
It is important not to expect too much from this album. To be honest, it should not even be called an album. It has no theme or organization and is just a random collection of songs. It should be judged as such. If it were an album, it would be disappointing. None of the songs really capture the artist we all fell in love with, yet even when only 50% of Amy Winehouse is present, she is still magnificent.
This record came out to a fan base looking for closure, but it will provide little. This is not another Grammy worthy album. It has a few songs worth multiple listens. Winehouse was a tortured artist and it seems wrong that her final act captures so little of what made her great. Such is the paradox of her music: her pain may have made her great, but it cut her off in her prime.