“American Idol” Episode Recap: The Top 6 Perform

American Idol’s top six contestants performed this week, and it should now be clear to everyone (EVERYONE!) that Candice Glover is the best singer and the best person and will win this season, and will be crowned the real winner of the past four seasons as well, because she is a goddess who can also time travel through the power of song.

Despite Candice’s divinely ordained presence, AI‘s ratings haven’t been doing too hot this season. So, what theme did the producers choose to liven up this sinking ship? Why, a night of songs written by Bacharach/Hall of course. What’s that? You’re not 40 years old and therefore have no knowledge of said mid-20th century songwriting duo? Congratulations, neither did anyone else watching! Idol didn’t even try to make this theme relevant by forcing the top six to monologue about how influential Bacharach/Hall was. That was actually a moment I was kind of looking forward to, considering Lazaro knows exactly NO songs in Idol’s catalogue.

Want to read more? Head to Crushable.com, where this article was originally published!

Advertisements

X-Factor

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

May 22, 2012

Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have been named "X Factor's" newest judges.

Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have been named “X Factor’s” newest judges.

Reality show singing competitions may have originated back in the late ’90s (anyone else remember Say What? Karaoke and Making the Band?), but they have never been bigger than right now. American Idol crowned Kelly Clarkson its first winner 10 years ago, and the show’s Wednesday and Thursday episodes are still the second- and fourth-highest-rated hours on TV today, respectively. Idol’s biggest rival, The Voice comes in only slightly behind.

Seeing how popular these programs are, it only makes sense that other entertainment figures are trying to cash in. Jennifer Lopez revitalized her entire career when she became an Idol judge last season. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine saw similarly increased album sales when he became a judge on The Voice, and even Christina Aguilera, who hasn’t released any music of her own since starting on that show, scored a top-10 single as a featured vocalist on Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” It was her first hit in four years.

Becoming a reality TV judge used to be a career move for older stars like Paula Abdul or Lopez, who were looking to reach a younger audience. More recently, however, it has become a viable path for pop singers who are at the peaks of their careers.

On May 14, X Factor creator and judge Simon Cowell announced that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato would replace season one judges Nicole Scherzinger (of The Pussycat Dolls) and Abdul. Cowell and the other continuing judge, music mogul L.A. Reid, brought Spears and Lovato onto the show on May 14 to introduce them as the new judges.

We know these women can sell albums, but how will Spears and Lovato do as judges? Spears is now known more for her wild behavior than for her music, which has become more and more auto-tuned and overproduced with each album she releases. She has appeared on reality TV once before, in 2005’s Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. The show documented Spears and then-husband Kevin Federline’s bizarro and short-lived marriage. It was critically panned and lasted for less than a full month on UPN, so no great vote of confidence there.

Much less is known about Lovato, the 19-year-old former Disney Channel star. She has released three albums in the last four years, all of which reached the top four or higher on the Billboard charts. Though she hasn’t come close to Spears in terms of an image crisis, she has had a few public problems of her own. In 2010, she entered a rehab program for an eating disorder and self-harm. These issues, however, are obviously serious, and should not be fodder for public judgement the way Spears’ antics have been.

Auditions for X Factor’s second season have already begun. The season will air in September. Until then, well, let’s just hope that Lovato and Spears can stay out of trouble long enough to prove they can be as successful as the stars who have judged before them.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month celebration

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

March 6, 2012

Image

A young woman stands perfectly still, arms tilted inwards, the pink fan clutched in her hand fluttering faintly.

Suddenly she jumps forward on beat with the traditional guitar plucking in the background. The fan flies open, revealing a long, rose-colored trail of fabric flowing from its curved folds. As the woman dances about the stage, striking traditional Chinese poses, the crowd responds with cheers, calling her name. This is Asian Pacific Asian Heritage Month at Brandeis.

APAHM is always a fun time on campus, full of colorful cultural events and engaging speakers. This year’s APAHM is particularly significant, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Brandeis Asian American Student Association, which sponsors APAHM, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Intercultural Center. BAASA co-presidents Stephanie Lee ’13 and Vicky Lee ’13, event coordinator Karen Hu ’12 and treasurer Adam Chow ’12 began the opening performance by praising all 23 members of the executive board for their hard work in creating this year’s events.

Image

All three of Rooftop Pursuit’s members share the surname Lee.

The ceremony took place on Saturday night in Levin Ballroom. The theme, “Making Our Mark,” underscores BAASA’s emphasis this year on modern Asian accomplishments. Two musical groups that have gained popularity on YouTube, Ben Clement and Rooftop Pursuit, performed. Clement, who opened the show, is currently studying music at Biola University in California. He created a calm peaceful atmosphere with his romantic songs and acoustic guitar, accompanied by a band member playing rhythms on a wooden box. Clement, who considers himself a “hopeless romantic” told the crowd that many of his songs were written about previous relationships, eliciting awws from the audience. Though many of his original songs had a singer-songwriter, John Mayer-type sound, it was his last number, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” that was most popular with the audience. Though Clement didn’t quite have the vocal ability to make the song as strong as it could have been, the song’s message of social change was clearly appreciated.

After Clement’s performance, Ayan Sanyal ’14 came on stage to sing Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a nod to “kids who grew up in the ’90s.” Then the newest student group under the BAASA umbrella, the Taiwanese Student Association, begins its performance with a loud, striking drum solo by Aaron Yang ’14. As the drum was rolled off stage eight female dancers took their places, standing like posed statues in traditional Taiwanese dress. One by one they moved to the front of the stage, demonstrating cultural fan, ribbon, handkerchief, sword, martial arts, umbrella and peacock dances. While each performer moved with clarity and purpose, it would have been more entertaining to see the dancers interact with one another. Instead, each demonstration ended before the next began, leaving seven dancers still as one moved.

After the formal grace of TSA’s performance, the ceremony’s mood changed abruptly as the Southeast Asian Club began their skit, “The Crystal Heart,” based on a traditional Vietnamese story. The skit, which imparts the story of a fisherman’s unrequited love for a snooty princess, was intentionally silly, and put the audience in a celebratory mood leading into a song by the Korean Student Association’s band. Seven KSA members took the stage to play a Korean pop song complete with impressive trumpet solos and heartfelt singing.

Rooftop Pursuit, the other professional group to perform, opened the ceremony’s second act with several original songs and covers, including Christina Perri’s “1000 Years.” Lead singer and keyboardist Phil Lee made a few humorous remarks about the three-man outfit of Korean-Americans, saying, “Our last names are all ‘Lee.’ … We didn’t do it on purpose.” Like Clement, many of Rooftop Pursuit’s songs were about romantic love, though guitarist Paul Lee’s wailing guitar riffs added some heat to the ballads.

Dan Ding takes a break from his MC duties to perform an original piece.

Dan Ding takes a break from his MC duties to perform an original piece.

Dan Ding ’12, the ceremony’s deep-voiced announcer took a moment away from the mic to perform an original classical song called “Piano Impromptu,” inspired by a swift change in weather Ding experienced while practicing with his high school sailing team. The audience was riveted by Ding’s obvious skill, and the reverent silence was broken only by applause as he concluded his piece.

The Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection was next to perform, as seven members showed off their dance skills, combining hip-hop moves with traditional Chinese dances as they swayed, kicked and spun to Chinese artist Show Lo’s “Show of Love.” The dancers, outfitted in red and black and decked out in sunglasses, certainly looked the part of a professional hip hop group.

Siddhi Krishna ’12, representing the South Asian Student Association brought another serious moment to the ceremony as she played a piece of Carnatic music, the classical music of South India. Krishna plucked notes and melodies on her violin, playing an ode to Lord Ganesha, Hinduism’s remover of obstacles. Krishna struck an interesting silhouette, kneeling on the stage rather than standing of sitting in a chair, as most Western musicians would have.

The APAHM opening ceremony concluded with a group number combining several popular Asian songs into one high-energy dance number called Project BAASA: PANDAmonium. The entire BAASA e-board plus other dancers were clearly having fun with the performance, which, according to the program, “shows how Asians got more than smarts. They also got SWAG.” After watching this year’s opening performance, I’d have to say I agree.

APAHM continues throughout March, including the SKINS Fashion Show on March 16 and theTemptasian 40th Anniversary Party on March 23.

AraabMuzik and Basic Physics concert

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Feb. 14, 2012

Basic_Phyiscs___Brandeis_8__mailchimp__poster

Fast-paced, thumping electronica and mashups were the designated genres of the night.

The signs on the doors to the Levin Ballroom read, “Strobe lights will be used during this performance.” Let the party begin.

As I walked into the ballroom on Thursday night, a small group of students had already gathered, eagerly anticipating the opening performer of Student Events’ February concert, Basic Physics. When the disc jockey stepped onto the stage, the audience surged tighter together, clamoring for a taste of the hip-hop flavored jams for which the young mix-master is known.

Basic Physics is a one-man operation. The mash-up artist first hit it big in 2010 when his mix “Stuntin’ with a Milli,” which combines songs by Lil Wayne, Phoenix and Pretty Lights, became a hit on YouTube and SoundCloud, a popular music streaming site. At the time of publication, the song has been viewed over 42,000 times on each site.

Since 2010, Basic Physics has released two mixtapes: Nightlife in the Northwoods and Liftoff.

Back in Levin, Basic Physics did not disappoint. The entertainer—that’s truly what he was—played infectious beats featuring many top-40 artists like Katy Perry, Ludacris, Lady Gaga and Maroon 5. He knew just when to let the beat slow down, creating tension in the crowd until the speakers suddenly exploded with the chorus of a well-known song. Basic Physics was clearly enjoying himself as well, singing along to his mash-ups as well as waving his hands back and forth, nodding his head and occasionally encouraging the audience with yells of excitement.

AraabMUZIK poses with his MPC, a synthesizer he uses to recreate the sound of a full drum kit.

AraabMUZIK poses with his MPC, a synthesizer he uses to recreate the sound of a full drum kit.

After Basic Physics’ 45-minute set, AraabMUZIK took the stage. An up-and-coming performer, AraabMUZIK was different from any other DJ I had seen before. He didn’t simply take samples of popular songs and mix them together. Instead, using an Akai Music Production Center drum machine, he created rhythms of his own, throwing together beat after beat in increasingly rapid succession. The MPC is similar to a synthesizer; it looks like a large pad containing 16 square buttons configured in four rows of four. Each of these buttons makes a different drum sound. When AraabMUZIK played the MPC, it sounded like he had an entire drum kit in front of him.

This style of performance may seem futuristic, but it’s a natural progression for this performer. According to AraabMUZIK’s official website, “When I first started making beats, I went from the keyboard to a software program and to an MPC. My motivation at that time was just for the fact that I wanted to hear and make my own music. All my old beats on the keyboard were like a good three to four minutes long and as I got better, so did the beats.”

AraabMUZIK doesn’t just use the MPC as a way to get around real musical talent—he knows how to play the drums for real and breaks out a full kit at some performances. But by combining the MPC with other electronic equipment, he has the ability to create heart-pounding beats and add in samples of other songs as well. At the concert, a large screen was connected to a camera that filmed directly over the machine. That way, the audience could see AraabMUZIK’s fingers flash over the keys as they danced to the rhythm.

Throughout the show, AraabMUZIK was immersed in his music. His whole body rocked back and forth as he slammed his fingers down on the buttons, seemingly lost in the musical world of his own creation. Clothed in a dark hoodie and flat-brimmed baseball cap, he looked like a stereotypical rapper or MC.

But his songs had no words and he rarely spoke to the audience. He was too engaged in making rapid-fire beats that washed over the dancers on the floor. For its part, the crowd seemed to love it, grooving to the vibrations and expressing their disappointment when the beat-maker finally left the stage.

Student Coordinator: Dillon Morris interview

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Feb. 7, 2012

Araabmuzik will bring his electronics-enhanced music to campus.

Araabmuzik will bring his electronics-enhanced music to campus.

JustArts spoke with Student Events’ Concert Coordinator Dillon Morris ’14 about Thursday’s AraabMUZIK concert. Morris explained how Student Events picked its headliner, what students can expect at the show and why you should get all your friends to pack Levin Ballroom

The concert takes place this Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the Brandeis Box Office and $8 at the door.

JustArts: What do you normally look for when planning a big concert like this?

Dillon Morris: Generally when planning a concert, I’d say there are a lot of different elements that go into it concerning the kind of talent that we’re going for [and] the level of exposure that the talent has received. Essentially, it’s finding that good balance, … especially for the February concert, which is kind of an opportunity for us I suppose to bring people who are more under the radar but who have the propensity to break out in the near future. It’s finding that balance between somebody who’s got a catalog large enough that they can provide a good show, but also somebody that not everybody knows but that, given the opportunity to listen to them, they’ll definitely find something that they like. Obviously, the desire to appeal to as large an audience as we can also goes into it. But we also want to be able to give to the people that we find up-and-coming a chance to expose themselves, and the February concert plays a very integral role in allowing us to do that, as opposed to, say, looking at the fall concert or SpringFest, when we get to extend ourselves farther.

JA: How did you specifically choose AraabMUZIK and Basic Physics?

DM: Initially, going into looking for our headlining group (which ended up being AraabMUZIK), the planning process basically goes, “If you had all the money, who would you want to bring?” And so it definitely gives us a way where we introduce unrealistic choices, but it kind of helps all of us gage what kind of genre or musical ideas that we want to go for in this concert. And so for AraabMUZIK, it was one of those things where traditionally you’ve seen at the February concert DJs and mash-up groups. We didn’t want to bring in a new mash-up group, but we did want to cater [the] dance scene that’s very popular right now, and give something that was I guess a bit more alternative. So if you look at somebody like AraabMUZIK, who uses a drum pad to simulate all his music, it’s actually something that’s very, very impressive. And so we were impressed with his talent, we all liked his music. We thought it was a performer that, if you’ve heard of him, you’re excited that he’s coming, and if you haven’t heard of him but somebody shows him to you, you get excited about it.

Once we selected AraabMUZIK, we then move on to the opener, who is Basic Physics. For that, we essentially look at what complements the lead artist the best; something that’s complementary but also differentiates itself enough from that artist that it provides a well-rounded show but still grounds things specifically in that genre that we’ve chosen to pursue. I think that Basic Physics fits that very well.

DJ Basic Physics will open the concert.

DJ Basic Physics will open the concert.

JA: What would you say are the unique aspects of these groups that are going to be fun for Brandeis students? Have you seen shows of theirs, either live or online?

DM: In the selection process a lot of it is watching online or live stuff to gauge how it is. I’ve never actually had the opportunity to see them live, so I’m very excited to now. I think it brings something very unique because it fills that void that, say, Pachanga’s leaving out. It gives you a really, really fun dance party that you’re able to go to, you’re able to enjoy. Even if the artist isn’t the reason you’re going, you’re going because you want to have fun. And I think AraabMUZIK’s musical style and the way that he performs is very lively, it’s very upbeat, and it’s just good music to enjoy yourself to. I think it fills that void that Brandeis has. We don’t really have a ton of fun on-campus activities that people can go to and consume and really enjoy.

Really, if you haven’t heard it, get a ticket and go. Because the thing about this artist is that the musical experience he provides is so heavily contingent on an amazing crowd experience. And so the thing is, if we can pack Levin Ballroom, this is going to be a fantastic show. But it’s all contingent on getting there, getting to the show. Student Events knows that they’re going to enjoy it.

JA: What happens to the profits from the February concert?

DM: All of the profits from the AraabMUZIKshow will go towards SpringFest. So, I guess one way I could put it is, if you’re not interested in seeing AraabMuzik, consider it paying $5 a couple months ahead for someone really, really good at SpringFest.

Student Musician: Yoni Battat

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Jan. 24, 2012

Brandeis Music majors are required to perform a recital their junior year. Violist Yoni Battat ’13 explained to justArts how he came to learn the viola, what went into creating his recital, and what other musical projects he’s involved with on campus. The concert will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Slosberg Recital Hall.

 JustArts: How did this concert where you’re doing your own performance with a few people come to happen?

Yoni Battat: I’m a performance major in the Music department. … I’m a viola performance major, and one of the requirements is that you have to give a junior and senior recital. It’s kind of a culmination of the work you’ve been doing with your private teacher.

JA: How did you decide which pieces to perform at the recital?

YB: They like the junior recitals to be a little shorter and then the senior recitals are on the longer side, so I had time constraints. But [the pieces are] really just what I was working on with my private teacher, Prof. Mary Ruth Ray (MUS). … She’s the violist of the Lydian [String] Quartet, so I’ve been working with her a lot, and I really just chose pieces that I really like and that we’ve been working on together. I also tried to keep the program really practical, because I’m also playing a concerto with the orchestra in April, so I wanted a lot of time to prepare for that, too.

JA: Did you compose one of the pieces you’re playing?

YB: Yeah, I like to try and program some of my own music, just because I don’t have a lot of motivation to compose a lot, and when I’m the one who’s playing the music it gives me a really good excuse to write something. … I called [the piece] a “Fantasy Sonata for Viola and Marimba.” … I wrote it to play with a good friend of mine, Josh Goldman ’11, who graduated last year. He’s part of the [Masters in Arts and Teaching] program right now, so he’s still around. … He plays marimba, and we’ll do that piece on the program also.

JA: How did you first get into playing viola?

YB: Well, I started violin when I was 4 and I played all throughout elementary school and junior high, and in high school, I switched to a supplemental music program called [Educational Center for the Arts] in New Haven, Conn., and I was kind of put in a position where I needed to play viola, because the violist they had couldn’t make the concert or something like that. So I had to try playing the viola part and I really loved it. … So in about 10th grade I switched to viola, and it’s been working out.

JA: Have you played previously at Brandeis?

YB: Well I’ve been playing in the orchestra since freshman year, and I’ve also been taking … a course that’s offered every semester in Chamber Music. … It’s just small string groups or piano sometimes, wind instruments, just small ensembles and there’s a lot of repertoire written for that kind of small ensembles. Usually it’s run by either Prof. Judy Eissenberg (MUS), who’s also a member of the [LydianString] Quartet, or Evan Hirsch (MUS) who’s a really great pianist … on the faculty. And so I’ve been taking that course pretty much every semester that I’ve been here, and … you get put in with a group. One time I did a trio with a clarinet and stand-up pianist, one time I did a quintet, I did another trio with cello and violin. Every semester it’s been different. So we get to prepare a piece of chamber music at the end of the semester, so that’s been really fun and I’m doing that this semester, too.

JA: Are there other styles of music you are interested in or involved in?

YB: Yeah, I strongly believe that the most talented classical musicians have to be well-rounded and worldly, … especially in the modern day you see performers like Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor orItzhak Perlman, all of whom work with world music genres and other genres, so I think that’s really important and can only add to what you’re doing. So … I am part of the Klezmer ensemble at Brandeis, called ‘DeisKeit, and along with Ethan Goldberg ’12, who’s a senior right now, we’ve kind of been the driving force behind that. We played on campus and professionally in the Boston area the past few years, which has been really fun. I’m also interested in Middle Eastern music. I took a course last semester with the new teaching fellow in the Music department Ann [Elizabeth] Lucas. I took her “Music and Culture in the Middle East” class last semester. She’s also going to be starting a Middle Eastern music ensemble that I’m a part of. I’m going to be playing violin and a Middle Eastern lute called the oud. So that’s going to be a lot of fun. Outside of that, I also sing in an a cappella group and I music direct my a capella group, Company B, and that’s a lot of fun. That’s a totally different kind of thing.

Lioness: Hidden Treasures (Amy Winehouse album)

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Dec. 13, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, a lot of year-end lists have been cropping up: Best Films of 2011, Best Songs, etc. Along with these comes the most disheartening list, Notable Deaths of 2011. Steve Jobs, Sidney Lumet, Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Rooney all passed away this year. In the music industry, the most shocking and saddening death of all was, in my opinion, the loss of Amy Winehouse.

Winehouse’s unexpected death on July 23 was crushing for several reasons: She was young, she was enormously talented, and she was clearly just getting started. Her death at age 27 also made her a member of the “Forever 27” club, a group predominantly made up of musicians who all died at this age. The list includes Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin, in additional to over 30 other artists.

Winehouse reminds me of Cobain in some ways. He was the most recent big-name inductee to the Forever 27 club before her. Both were innovators in their genre (grunge and neo-soul, respectively). Both released few albums (Nirvana had three major studio releases before Cobain’sdeath, Winehouse had only two). Both were in tumultuous romantic relationships with frequently intoxicated paramours who were partially blamed for their deaths (Courtney Love and Blake Fielder-Civil, respectively). Lastly, both had a strong love-hate relationship with the media that made them both famous and miserable.

Now, almost five months after Winehouse’s death, her compilation album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures has been released. Producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi put the CD together with the Winehouse family’s blessing. It features 12 tracks, including three new recordings of previously released Winehouse songs. Five of the songs—including Winehouse and Ronson’s biggest hit “Valerie,” originally by the Zutons—are covers. This is a departure for Winehouse, who had previously released only two songs, both on her sophomore album Back to Black, that she had not written or co-written herself.

amy-winehouse-lioness

The album opens with the reggae-inspired “Our Day Will Come,” originally sung by 1960s outfit Ruby and the Romantics. The song was recorded in 2003 for Winehouse’s first album, Frank, but never made it onto the CD. It is now being released as the second single off Lioness.

The hopeful lyrics in “Our Day Will Come,” which include the lines, “Our dreams are meant to be/because we’ll always stay/in love this way,” are quite different from Winehouse’s own, which typically deal with cheating lovers and general romantic hardship. Her voice, however, is as distinct as ever. Winehouse had the impressive talent of being able to sound as though she was grinning while she sang. Her smooth voice fills the record, dominating the instruments and the “ooo” of the background singers.

It is not until two songs later, however, on “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” originally recorded by the Shirelles in 1960, that Winehouse really lets her pipes shine. Winehouse is known for her deep, pack-a-day alto, but on “Tomorrow,” she belts out a passionate high note I’d never heard her reach before. That’s the beauty of Lioness. It allows listeners to get a taste of Winehouse that she hadn’t previously shared with her fans and shows how the singer had grown throughout her career.

One track that was a letdown was “Like Smoke,” featuring rapper Nas. Winehouse certainly had a hip-hop influence in her music, but she never before featured another person on a song, let alone a rapper. Nas is undeniably talented at wordplay, but his style does not mesh well with Winehouse’s. She also only sings the chorus, while Nas performs both the song’s verses. It was the second verse—which features lyrics about the suffering economy and then somehow includes the lines “You colder than penguin poo,” and “See a penguin, he drags his s— on the ground all day/And there’s a dragon?”—that really struck me as out of place. After wondering what Nas could possibly be talking about, I concluded that the dragon reference could be about how he looks when he smokes pot (this makes slightly more sense if you listen to the rest of the song). Still, I didn’t get what that had to do with penguins, or the economy, or what Winehouse sings about in the chorus, which is—what else?—her relationship.

Though “Like Smoke” hits a sour note, Lioness quickly gets back into form with a slowed-down version of “Valerie” called “Valerie (’68 Version).” Next up was a delightful surprise: Winehouse’s cover of the bossa nova hit “The Girl from Ipanema,” originally recorded by Antônio Carlos Jobim. The song features playful scatting and luxurious singing from Winehouse. She sounds like the cat that ate the canary, her tone and the lyrics combining into what sounds like the soundtrack to a sun-drenched tropical locale.

One other track of note on Lioness is Winehouse’s duet with Tony Bennett, “Body and Soul,” first recorded in 1939 by Coleman Hawkins and originally released earlier this year on Bennett’s CD Duets II. “Body and Soul” was the last track that Winehouse ever recorded. Unlike her collaboration with Nas, Bennett and Winehouse are partners in this song, and Bennett’s raspy voice sounds great with Winehouse’s throaty one. The song sounds a bit like a lounge act by the end, but, after all, that’s Bennett’s style.

Lioness: Hidden Treasures does not always have the emotional drive or confident sass that made Winehouse such a memorable performer. However, it contains some of her best vocal work, and the mix of genres, covers and originals means that all of the singer’s various styles can be heard. While I’d still recommend Back to Black as Winehouse’s strongest work, Lioness rounds out her discography and will give her fans something more to remember her by.