By: Lerato Kortjass
The British diva, Amy Winehouse is the definition of versatile. She can do contemporary RnB, soul and a dash of Motown all in one. This is evident in her album Back to Black that is of quality; containing melodies and lyrics that make you emotional and elated at once.
Back to Black is produced well and in a unique manner. The tracks are far from mediocre; the same goes for the lyrics. It is not like any album you have heard before and has its own style. Amy Winehouse’s personality is reflected throughout the album. Females of almost any age can relate and identify with Winehouse and her tracks. The album will have you in deep thought and evoke emotions you did not plan on surfacing.
Back to Black took was ranked number 6 on the U.S pop chart and received five awards at the Grammy’s. It also won Record of the year in 2007. The album was released by Island Records and Remi’s productions who helped create this master piece. The producers, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi gave Winehouse a new signature of instrumentation in the album Back to black. Amy Winehouse does not need extravagance because she is an artist of solely quality.
She was largely influenced by girl-bands of the 1950s and 1960s, thus, she decided to hire Sharon Jones, the leader of an old girl-band called Dap-Kings. Music critics such as David Mead comment further on this point and compare the track “Tears dry on their own” to Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t no mountain high enough” of the 1960s and Ray Charles. However, the frank lyrics in the songs are said to contradict the 1960s in a sense according to music journalist Christian Wikane. The lyrics are adapted to modern-day music.
The British artist abandoned jazz from her first album Frank and decided with her producers to experiment with Contemporary RnB. The album is a form of personal expression with blunt and harsh lyrics that are sung in a gentle, almost monotone manner. Tears dry on their own is an up-beat track but the meaning behind the lyrics is far more tragic than the composition that sounds jolly. In the opening lines of the track she refers to herself as being a type of darkness: “All I could ever be to you is the darkness that we knew”. Yet she associates her previous lover with sunshine and the brightness of the day; “He walks away, the sun goes down”. Here, she spills out her feelings of heartbreak but she knows that in the end, she will be alright. The general trend of her lyrics is darkness and the sadness of the night; especially in the tracks Wake up alone and of course, Back to black.
Other British songbirds like Duffy, Adele and Lily Allen are compared to Amy Winehouse. What is the music industry without healthy competition?
I highly recommend this album. It is not just for brokenhearted people but for everyone who is seeking to be fed with simple, sweet melodies through their soul.
Official website: http://www.amywinehouse.com/
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/amywinehouse
- what’s in the brand? the dark life of winehouse (20thlife.wordpress.com)
- Amy Winehouse posing for Back to Black – Mischa Richter’s best photo (theguardian.com)
- 10 reasons I love still love Amy Winehouse – and always will (mirror.co.uk)
- 10 Of The Darkest Musicians (wxrt.cbslocal.com)