Music – Amy Winehouse: 10 weeks on from her death

10월 5, 2011 at 3:18 오후
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By John Glynn

Embracing a rock’n’roll life has proved deadly to many artists, but hardly any could be considered as much of a loss to music as Amy Winehouse. One of the exceptional singers of her generation, she had battled with drug addiction, and the devastation it causes.”Troubled” was the adjective frequently used to portray Amy Winehouse, the vibrant British belter who rose to international stardom thanks to her rebellious 2006 single “Rehab”. The near-constant exposure of her personal troubles with drug addiction, public punch-ups, onstage meltdowns, to name just a few, also “helped” catapult her right in the center of media attention.
Her tattooed arms and soaring beehive made her an immediate remedy for the Mariahs and Christinas that had for too long conquered the pop-music scene.
She fought drug addiction for years, including admitted heroin use. Winehouse most recently returned to rehab in May 2011.
Throughout the hectic last years of her life, she was regularly compared to other singers with turbulent existences, such as Billie Holiday and Kurt Cobain. Winehouse had prior near-death experiences, including one her controversial ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, described in length back in 2009:
“I knelt over her as she kept on fitting. But then suddenly she just passed out and stopped breathing,” Fielder-Civil told The Sun (UK Newspaper). It was the most frightening thing I had ever seen. I felt sure I was watching her die right in front of me. I didn’t know what to do or how to save her. I held her to me – and I thought she was dying in my arms. But somehow I managed to open her mouth and breathe air down her throat.”
In January, 2010, she pled guilty to assaulting a theater stage manager, needless to say, this was a feeding frenzy for the media.
The UK tabloids were fixated on Winehouse, cue stories of record company concern at Winehouse’s alleged extreme alcohol addiction, and paparazzi photos showing severe weight loss. Then along came an album which blew most people away: “Back to Black”.
This album is a sumptuous-sounding collection freighted with direct revelations of an “improper” lifestyle.
The album kicks off with the rousing, churchy ‘Rehab’, in which Winehouse sings about how her father tried to wean her off alcohol (‘Try to make me go to rehab/ I say no, no, no’). The mesmerizing opening track comes across like an obscure type of gem, filled with pathos and melodrama. “Rehab” is quite dark when you think about it (it’s about an intervention, after all), but it still blows me away.
None of the music on this record sounds like it was made after the 1960’s. Produced by Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, this album has a breathtaking sound that replicates the sound of old-school soul with simplicity
Ronson’s influence is instantly recognizable – it’s a long time since a producer and artist complimented each other so well. Much of Amy Winehouse’s buzz came from her reviving 1960’s-style pop/soul, on this album she does that with such style and grace.
Winehouse wrote all the tracks on “Back to Black”, she had a skill for crafting catchy, intellectual lines. It’s astounding to imagine that Winehouse was compared to the likes of Katie Melua when she first arrived- it’s undoubtedly hard to visualize Melua extolling the qualities of cannabis, let alone in quite the same way as Winehouse does in the closing song, “Addicted”.
Amy was a haunted musician, fittingly, in death; she has now cemented her legacy alongside all of the other sublimely gifted, enormously pained stars gone far too early.

RIP Amy.


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