Album Review: Amy Winehouse – Frank 2CD Deluxe Edition

Despite the appearance of a comeback at the Grammys, it seems to be the case that Amy Winehouse will not be releasing another album any time soon. It’s sad that Island Records already needs to resort to reissuing her albums to keep the public’s attention, but since her first outing was largely ignored by the US, even the old songs on the deluxe edition of 2003’s Frank will be new to many people.While Frank isn’t much like Back to Black in style, the attitude that attracted us to Winehouse on her sophomore project is more than in tact. In a way, this is the Amy that we really need back; the same biting humor and wit, but without all the dark depression that was bubbling underneath the surface. Instead of the Motown influenced sound, she crafted with Mark Ronson, Frank is about half Hip-Hop tinged Soul and half Pop Jazz, complete with a surprisingly appropriate dubby cover of “Moody’s Mood For Love.” Be it on traditional love songs like “You Sent Me Flying” or more tongue-in-cheek sketch comedies like “F**k Me Pumps,” Amy just plain seems like she’s in a better mood. Does that make Frank her better album? Not exactly, but it does make it great; just in a different sort of way.As for the second disc, it’s more or less exactly what you would expect from this sort of thing – a lot of demos, b-sides and remixes with a few gems sprinkled in. There’s a beautiful performance of “Someone to Watch Over Me” and a couple of worthwhile remixes, most notably Seiji’s remix of “Take the Box” and a stripped down mix of “In My Bed.” Generally, the additions are more interesting from an academic perspective than anything, but there’s enough here of note to make the deluxe edition the version to buy if this is your first time with the album. If not, Frank probably isn’t worth a second purchase of the whole package, but the best songs here would be three or four bucks well spent on your digital distribution retailer of choice. Amy, Amy, Amy… the last thing you need is another lecture from a stranger on the internet about “getting it together” and “wasted talent,” but you’ve put out a pair of great albums, so we can’t help but care. Hopefully, this new version of your old work will help keep a few people satisfied while we wait, but mostly, it’ll just remind us how hard the wait will be.

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