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Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

You can feel the emotion in her voice; that was my initial thought as I listened to Amy Winehouse sing "Love is a Losing Game" for the first time. Since then I've been going back to this album over and over again.

Her musical and visual aesthetic is 60s girl groups like the Ronettes, but with a certain hip hop attitude. The vocals punch through, and the band kicks it too, with crunchy drum, guitar, and sax parts. Slightly retro, but not too much.

What are we to make of her controversial tune, "Rehab," where Winehouse sings "Tried to make me go to rehab / and I said no no no"?

We feel her defiance. Maybe this is why the song seems to have created such a stir. It's like, "people are telling me what to do but, damn it, I'm going to do what I want to do." Set to a heavy beat and with killa vocals, this is pretty powerful stuff. Maybe going to rehab would be good for Winehouse (some have suggested that her last name is a reference to her liver).

She is a soulful singer with a full, sensuous voice; informed by the tradition of American jazz and R&B. I know, they say that comparisons are odious (or was it odorous?), but, in terms of pure style, she reminds me of Lauryn Hill.

Here's a summary of the some of the gossip surrounding her: she has a drinking problem, she is bi-polar but doesn't take her medicine, she has been anorexic and bulimic ...

I read in the Village Voice that she prefers a concoction called a Rickstasy, which combines vodka, Southern Comfort, banana liqueur, and Baileys. Yuck!

Amy Winehouse has style and presence.


Here's a minimalist version of "Love is a Losing Game," Fender Rhodes and vocal:


Here's an intimate version of "Valerie":


And here's the "Rehab" video:





what are the odds

After reading this blog the first time, I was happy to hear her music on your show later that week. At that time, you told me you had updated this entry with links to YouTube. Upon returning to your blog, once again I was happy to hear AND see her music. It was not five minutes after I had watched the Rehab video that I retired to the television to watch a tape that someone had loaned me of the pilot episode of some new T.V. show called Hidden Palms. After the opening scene, as most mainstream shows do these days, a pop song came on to accent what was happening in the show. It was Amy Winehouse singing Rehab.

Re: what are the odds

Yeah, Jim, it seems like two weeks ago she was relatively unknown, and now she's everywhere... I guess it's time to abandon her!

January 2018



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