On the Goe: Winehouse breathes life into R&B
With the passing of the world’s ultimate hot mess, Amy Winehouse, it wasn’t a matter of if but when the posthumous money grab would come. Well, circle Dec. 6 on your calendar.
“Lioness: Hidden Treasures” is a collection of unreleased material and remastered originals organized by super producer and Winehouse confidant Mark Ronson.
Several tracks already have been leaked online including “Like Smoke,” an excellent collaboration with “Illmatic” rapper Nas, and “Our Day Will Come,” a cover of Ruby & The Romantics’ 1963 hit.
Judging from what I’ve heard so far, “Lioness” captures the classic Motown sound that the songstress with the beehive hairdo became famous for and will be worth a spin.
The release of Winehouse’s final offering is tragic.
Do, however, take solace in knowing the album marks a much larger trend in music.
Thanks in large part to Winehouse, R&B is back in a big way. Her 2007 album, “Back To Black,” brought authenticity back to the charts and opened the doors for a new wave of music.
Pop radio says the hot sound right now is mindless electro-based dance music.
Yeah? Well, I’m worn out from getting the party started. It’s time for something meaningful.
Adele, a godsend, has crushed the charts with her last two albums, “19” and “21,” and promises to do it again with her upcoming, rumored, theme song for the new James Bond film, “Skyfall.”
Another English songbird with a golden voice, Adele has something that makes you stop and listen. It’s called soul, and it’s the perfect antidote for an electro-pop LMFAO overdose.
The Motown vibe is alive and well.
Take Mayer Hawthorne, for example. You may have caught the bespectacled SoCal hipster touring the late night comedy show circuit with his latest album “How Do You Do.”
Fans of the Four Tops will dig Hawthorne’s retro sound. Check out the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” inspired video for “The Walk.” It’s a good place to start.
Also combining steady drum beats, brass and harmony is indie band Fitz and the Tantrums. Featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s annual Hot List, Fitz and the Tantrums set a steady groove ideal for impromptu dance parties.
The ultimate vindication for R&B comes from the overly-hyped Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration, “Watch the Throne.”
When Jay-Z asks, “It sounds so soulful, don’t you agree?” in the opening line to “Otis,” you have to say, “yes.” That’s because they sample the 1966 classic “Try A Little Tenderness” by, you guessed it, Otis Redding.
Kanye is perhaps the most forward thinking rapper in the game. Hands down, he’s the guy pushing music, particularly how music sounds, forward. If he says R&B is back, I tend to believe him.
R&B songs are not complicated. They’re all about your girl: How much you love her, how much you miss her, and how she did you wrong, oh, so wrong.
In truth, they embody Winehouse.
Don’t shortchange yourself by remembering her for the trashy tattoos and self-destructive behavior. She’s the catalyst for a new trend in music, one I am happy to have back.