Back to Black
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Ivor Novello Award Winner, Mercury Music Prize and Triple Brit Nominee Amy Winehouse, Follows the Release of her New Single "rehab" and Recent Sell-out Mini-uk Tour, with the Hugely Anticipated Release on October 30th of her New Album "back to Black". On "back to Black", the Follow-up to her Platinum Debut "frank" which Established her as One of the Most Exciting and Challenging Artists in Pop Music, Amy Confirms, Beyond Any Reasonable Or Unreasonable Doubt, What a Truly Remarkable Talent She Is.
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Top Customer Reviews
The music poures out of her, a stream of weathered, seasoned phrases, seemingly without effort, and mercifully without any of the ululating and over-emoting that blights so many performances in the soul-jazz field in which Winehouse operates.
For her, what matters is the quality of the notes, not the quantity.
Amy Winehouse is, of course, almost as famous for her behaviour as for her music; tabloid newspapers in recent months have been peppered with the striking visage of this north London Jewish girl, accompanying lurid reports of her latest night on the razz. But here, on this fantastic set, she'd done so in moderation, because she seemed focused and together.
"Back to Black", is a more soulful and stripped-down collection than her jazzier debut, "Frank". The influence of girl groups from the 1950s and early '60s is plain: plinky keyboards, parpy brass, trebly guitar.
Some excellent background vocals provides weight and depth, while she and her band do a brilliant job of recreating the big soulful sound conjured up in the studio by producer Mark Ronson.
In songs such as "Me & Mr Jones", "Back to Black", "Love is a Losing Game" and "Rehab", we may hear the sound of Phil Spector, of Muscle Shoals, of the Shirelles and the Supremes.
But this is no mere retro soul show: these are not pastiches, but real emotional journeys from a woman with real emotional experiences.
She is a standout talent with a nice line in bitchy put-downs and a wondrous voice reminiscent of Dinah Washington.
Even so, her second album has surpassed all expectations.
This is the best British soul album in absolutely ages, a complete package of lovingly recreated Motown/60s girl group sounds, caustic, often excruciatingly honest lyrics, great finger popping tunes and a voice that does sexy and smouldering and dismissive contempt with equal alacrity.
Strutting, defiant she pokes the finger at past lovers demanding, sweetly, "What kind of f**kery is this?" (" Me & Mr Jones" ) and keeps us waiting four songs before the title track peaks - or plunges - into the crux of her theme. It begins with a pacing, pulsing piano chord before sinking into depression. "I died a hundred times...You go back to her, and I go back to...I go back to..."
Reluctant to accept defeat, resolution is deferred as the "I go back to..." refrain gathers strength until, beaten down to a whisper by the piano, she puts us out of our misery.
Back to...black. Yet, just when she seems ready to pack up her guitar and reach for the nearest bottle, drums kick in with the wistful, resigned "Love is A Losing Game", Winehouse's reworking of the archetypal 'getting over him' song. Piling metaphor on top of metaphor; she is relentlessly philosophical. Love is a losing hand, she declares; love is a fate resigned. Love - love is a losing game.
One criticism of the album is that it's too short. After packing 11 songs into just over 34 minutes of alcoholic, iconic crooning she bows out, presumably to go and "smoke [her] home grown".
The end result is a taut show reel that leaves us salivating, willing us to press play again - and move from the playfully titled last track 'Addicted' back into 'Rehab'. It's circular, compulsive. Were it not for the amount of bleeps needed - and the difficult of getting a song whose main refrain is "you smoke all my weed man" past the censors - each would be worthy of radio play, especially the motowny, doo woppish, "Me & Mr Jones".Read more ›
Her debut, "Frank", was sometimes stodgy and definitely over praised, but no praise is too high for this unashamedly retro, but beautifully observed and realised take on classic girl group pop and Motown soul.
The 11 songs all sound like great lost classics from the 60s, snappily written with a mix of bitterly caustic lyrics and finger popping tunes, then delivered in a voice that alternates sexy smouldering with dismissive contempt.
She started last year amid criticism from all corners over her dramatic weight loss and ended it heralded as the new queen of UK cool; with hair messier than a sleepover with Pete Doherty, a mouth like a drunken fish wife and an album swelling with the kind of lump-in-throat emotional soul last heard sometime in the late 70s, somewhere in Detroit
Hence it was somewhat of a surprise when it reared its sultry head again in 2006. With near genius production from hip pop mainstay Mark Ronson (who also had a finger in the tasty pie that was Lily Allen's debut), stomping, romping punk-rock-jazz was the order of the day as Ms Winehouse showed everyone what being a real lady is all about.
Most recent customer reviews
Not happy with the quality of the album. Very flimsy and not recorded very well. Should have just bought the CD. The music itself is impeccable.Published 3 days ago by tom
A testimony to her life and struggles, you can feel it in her singing on this album. RIP Amy.Published 4 months ago by Alpina Roadster-S