Sunday, July 24, 2011

BACK TO BLACK - Amy Winehouse

YEAR: 2006

LABEL: Universal Island Music

TRACK LISTING: Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, Me & Mr. Jones, Just Friends, Back To Black, Love Is A Losing Game, Tears Dry On Their Own, Wake Up Alone, Some Unholy War, He Can Only Hold Her, You Know I'm No Good (feat. Ghostface Killah), Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)

BONUS TRACKS: Valerie, Cupid (Deluxe Edition Version), Monkey Man, Some Unholy War (Down Tempo), Hey Little Rich Girl, You're Wondering Now, To Know Him Is To Love Him (Live), Love Is A Losing Game (Demo Version)

IMPRESSIONS: The death yesterday of Amy Winehouse led me to re-listen to the album which took the world by storm 5 years ago and earned her multiple Grammy and Penguin Awards. Her phenomenal success paved the way for an explosion of successful female (mainly British) singers such as Duffy, Adele, Lilly Allen, Kate Nash and countless others. Listening to the album once again, I realized that BACK TO BLACK has lost none of its originality and freshness after 5 years. The 60's soul-influenced songs manage to evoke that style of music without copying any song (other than the deliberate sampling of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with cheeky abandon). Her pipes sound remarkable, her songwriting has bite, wit and balls; listening to the album now one can hear it all before the rot set in. And the fact that she managed to waste all her talent in a steady slide towards disillusion is disrespectful not only to her own talent but to the family who loved her (and whom she put through hell) and the fans who connected to her music. A disgraceful, thoughtless waste of a formidable talent thrown away without a backward glance.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: You Know I'm No Good, Me & Mr. Jones, Back To Black, Love Is A Losing Game, Valerie, To Know Him Is To Love Him (Live)

FACT SHEET: BACK TO BLACK is Amy Winehouse's second album (after the jazz-infused FRANK in 2003. Producers Salaam Remi & Mark Ronson presided over an album which featured a heavy influence from classic 1960s soul records combined with modern R&B beats. However, the album was no mere pastiche owing to Amy Winehouse's superb songwriting and vocal talents. The album became a blockbuster winning 5 Grammy Awards (tying the all-time record) as well as Penguin Awards for Album of the Year and Song of the Year (for "Back To Black"). The song "Tears Dry On Their Own" sampled the music track from Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".

1 comment:

  1. That's probably the best and most honest assessment of the waste of life and talent. Well written, sir. Our sadness is tinged with anger.