Amy Winehouse - Back To Black - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

"He left no time to regret/ Kept his dick wet…" It could've been a sample lyric from oeuvre of Ms Courtney Love. In fact it was the opening line from the defining song of arguably the greatest, dumbest, most captivating and most disturbing music star of our age. Those lyrics tell you nothing about 'Back to Black's irresistible, consummately realised 60s soul swoon, its perfect ratcheting up of noir melodrama and sumptuous funereal dénouement, its faultlessly cool swagger in the face of piercing heartache. But you can grasp all that with one listen to the song. What those words tell you is that while Amy Winehouse possibly had nothing within her that approached shame, she was possessed of almost superhuman levels of artistic integrity. And, yeah, you read that last sentence right.

Because, while we all know the drug abuse and bad lifestyle choices that would follow, during the recording of 'Back to Black's parent album, Winehouse was on fire creatively and her songwriting nous told her that starting a ballad which held the power to crush Radio Two beneath her thumb with these shockingly honest words, delivered in her peerless "who gives a fuck?" drawl, would transform her into kind of singer people talk about for years. And of course we have, mainly for all the wrong reasons. But that ruthlessly honest streak, a desire to confront taboos and document turmoil… That's authentic and it won't be obscured from people's minds no matter how many salacious, voyeuristic, hypocritically moralistic stories are printed about her in the press.

If it takes Winehouse another decade to produce the follow up to this record, long after she's faded from the tabloid front pages, people will still retain an imprint of this song in their minds: the genuine, rasping pain she locates in her voice, the way she nails the emotion dead-on with "we only said goodbye with words", the way a woman rapidly losing all dignity could dazzle you with such graceful, gloomy music. This is why Amy Winehouse will still be a star, long after every last parasitic paparazzi has thankfully clicked their final, grubby 'up skirt' shot.

Richard Morris

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