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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on January 23, 2008
Although Amy Winehouse has been on the music scene since the release of her debut album "Frank", in 2003, it is only since the release of her latest album, last year's "Back To Black", that she has made any real impact.
"Frank" may have earned her a Mercury Music Award nomination and an Ivor Novello award, but she had very little chart success with the album or singles.
On "Frank" she sounds as if she has performed a thousand times in smoky jazz clubs.
So it comes as some surprise to learn that she is just 24 and was raised in north London.
Sitting somewhere between Nina Simone and Erykah Badu, Winehouse's sound is at once innocent and sleazy.
She claims that she can only write about what she has already learned, but she makes some starkly candid and humorous social observations on the brazen single, "Stronger Than Me".
Standout track "Take the Box" is a stunningly soulful tale of returning an ex-lover's possessions and "You Send Me Flying" does just that, thanks to a colossal vocal talent.
"October Song", meanwhile, forges uplifting jazz out of the death of a pet canary.
There are contradictions - but it's hard not to hear the honesty and soul that resonates throughout this album.
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on August 24, 2008
Despite all the negative media attention Amy Winehouse has, she is a relevant and important voice in music. She has got talent to spare and her debut is in many ways even better than her sophomore album Back to Black. I love both albums, but there is something about Frank that has me hitting the play button more often than with her follow-up.
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on May 13, 2004
Though the lyrics of Winehouse's songs make more sense and hold more meaning for urban Brits, there's no reason why Americans can't identify with her frank music. It's a great combination of jazz, soul, and r&b. If I had to pin it down, I'd say she's Billie Holiday meets Esthero. I just can't believe she's only 19.
Every single song is fantastic, but I think You Sent Me Flying, Take The Box, Know You Now, and Help Yourself are the standouts on the album. I can't stop playing them. Island needs to release this in the States. It's outrageous that the CD is over $30; I bought it for £9.79 at Sainsbury's!
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on July 12, 2005
Amy Winehouse is featured on many British compilation CD's and so I decided to finally pick up the CD and I am so glad that I did!! Amy Winehouse delivers the perfect blend of jazz and r&b. Her unique vocals are definitely refreshing. It is a well produced CD and I would highly recommend it. Think Billie Holiday mixed with the soul of Mary J!!
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on September 10, 2011
Following the event of her tragic departure, I purchased this album not knowing what to expect. Truly sublte and perhaps Amy's most frank work. Brings simultaneously a smile and a tear.
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on February 20, 2004
Amy Winehouse - Frank
I first came across Amy Winehouse when I was browsing through the 'coming soon' section of Windows Media Player. There was a short audio clip from a "new up-and-coming artist", so I decided to play the clip on repeat while checking my e-mails. However, I was surprised to learn that even after a full twenty minutes I had still been listening to the same two minute clip... that means ten times in a row! This immediately told me two things: one, I need to get my ears checked! And two, Ms Winehouse took/takes/will take easy-listening to a whole other level.
I can not disagree with any of the comments from the sticker on the front cover: 'A colossal vocal talent', 'One of the most impressive British debuts in years', 'Stunning debut'. If you like 'easy on the ear' albums, I would definitely recommend this. Of course, if you are a sucker for female voices I'd also recommend Dido (what's that... you've already got it... no surprises there), Katie Melua (Closest thing to Crazy...), Norah Jones (Go away With Her) and someone whom I think is under-rated Emiliana Torrini (Love In the Time of Science).
I do not go out of my way to sit down and actively listen to an album. Instead, I prefer to play it in the background. So, when I buy an album I will play it from start to finish, reading a book while it is playing. If the album flows one should not be able to tell how many tracks are on the album - it should seem like one long music fest. But, for me, if it is not a good album it won't flow. (It is surprising how well this method works. Try it... it really does work!)
I enjoy listening to albums like this i.e. albums that are albums rather than a collection of singles. Albums like this seem to have been lost over the years (listen to me... I'm sounding like an old fogey!). Albums like this flow like a story, like a story there is always a distinct underlying theme. But that does not mean that there is the same old fare for every track, afterall all good stories have a change of pace, and this is true of 'Frank'.
When I first heard the album, there were definitely some tracks that stood out straight away. I immediately recognised 'Stronger Than Me' - it was the song that I had heard on Windows Media Player. (I just wish I could play the chorus on repeat again and again...). 'F**k Me Pumps' is probably responsible for the 'Parental Guidance Advisory' sticker on the front of the album. But, don't let this put you off this sassy dig at gold-digging women. It definitely requires a second listen to appreciate the lyrics: 'without girls like you there'd be no fun, we'd go to the club and not see anyone, without girls like you there'd be no nightlife all those men just go home to their wives' (ouch!). 'In My Bed' and 'Take The Box' are sure to become classics in their own right. (Info just for fans: 'Take The Box' actually has the title 'Frank' in the lyrics; again, Ms Winehouse may be teasing us as to the real meaning behind the title of her album i.e 'Good Will Hunting'-style).
However, on listening to the album a couple of times there was one track that really stood out. But, whenever I tried to find it I had no luck! When I finally came across the track on listening to the album again I noted down its location. I discovered that it is a hidden track!! It does not have its own track number, it is not listed on the back of the album but it has its own separate lyrics section in the accompanying album sleeve. It is actually located in track 2 (5 minutes and 15 seconds into track 2... to be exact!). The track is called 'Cherry'. It is probably hidden because it is a short track but I like to think of it as a hidden gem - perhaps one of my favourite tracks on the album. 'Her name is Cherry. We just met. But, already she knows me better than you'. Even the most cynical amongst you will have a smile on your face after this song. The vocals on this track I think epitomise the whole album, Ms Winehouse is best when she just lets her voice go and is as the album states 'frank' with her lyrics.
I am always so worried for artists such as Ms Winehouse because they have such an impact on their debut, they are so new and so fresh, one has to ask where can they go from here on in? However, perhaps I am being a bit presumptuous... afterall Dido's doing alright. ;o)
As debuts go this is phenomenal.
As albums go this is awesome.
I for one am looking forward to what Ms Winehouse comes up with next.
Hope you enjoyed the review and found it helpful.
Whatever album you decide to buy I hope it's the right one for you.
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on November 29, 2003
What can i say? I really enjoy this album... I first heard her on Heavy TV, singing an acoustic version of Stronger than me, and i really loved her quirky, jazzy voice. The girl can sing! Then i found out she has a album coming out, and i thought, ok i'll take the chance and buy it. i did like her voice! :) I bought it the day it came out,and i can honestly tell you that her cd is still in my cd player!! It is irrestible! The album is brill from start 2 finish, but my fave songs are Stronger than me, know you now (WOW!) and take the box.
If you're sick of mainstream music at the moment and want something different, this is the album 4 you!.. her voice does resemble erykah badu, billie holiday, but she still maintains her own sound, without sounding like a best hits cd of billie holiday 4 example. She is unique, fresh, british and 19!! i can't believe at her age, she can come with such a "grown up" sound, and her lyrics are funny and witty.
I can not say any more than, just get it and listen to it. It is a very impressive debut. Keep comin with it Amy!
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on December 30, 2003
Upon listening to my copy of "Frank", several of my friends have made comparisons of Amy Winehouse's debut to other artists from Lauryn Hill & Erykah Badu to Billie Holiday & Josephine Baker. Sure, I can see where such comparisons are birthed, but Amy's first project is solidly unique.
A monotoned, jazzed-up voice syrups over cuts like "Stronger Than Me" & "Know You Now", while range & depth pervade "Take The Box" & "Love Is Blind". The music itself is eclectic: the reggae-tinged turn of her cover of "Moody's Mood For Love" & the hip-hop inspired "In My Bed" provide variety among the generally subdued tone of the album. But, for me, the ace in the hole is Amy's lyrics. She implements a slew of literary devices throughout, prompting multiple listens to catch all of the latent references.
An accomplished player, a strong vocalist, and an inspired writer: Amy Winehouse is in a class by herself - who cares if she is a bit boy-crazy?? Most 19-year-old girls are...
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on November 24, 2011
Anyone interested in getting to know Amy Winehouse should buy this album. It is highly addictive & I couldn't be happier it's occupying space in my CD player. She left us way too soon but it's songs like these that will linger on for years to come.
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on May 10, 2004
Amy Winehouse - Frank (Universal, 2003)
I read about Amy on and I had to check this album out. She doesn't disappoint here. It may take some time to get into her voice, though. She has a Ms. Dynamite/Nelly Furtado thing going on (although I would listen to Furtado over these two artists). Still, help yourself to "Help Yourself" and the funny but true "F*** Me Pumps", where Amy tells a woman to stop dressing the way she does if she wants some respect in the clubs. Producer Salaam Remi (Nas' God's Son, Fugees' The Score) contributes here as well; in fact, "In My Bed" features the same beat from Nas' "Made You Look". -EJR
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