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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excruciatingly honest , sexy and smouldering.,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)As for her voice: where does it come from, this extraordinary sound?
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RETRO SOUL..,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)In U.K. Amy Winehouse has been a tabloid regular recently with tales of anoxeria, addiction, and drunken TV appearances, but she really should let her music speak for itself . . . especially when it's as good as this.
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rugged charm, distinctive vocals.,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)"Back to Black" is that rare thing: an album you can listen to from beginning to end, in order, over and over again - and find a new favourite every time.
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".
Yet it's a little too introspective for the airwaves. Even the cover is dark. Where first album "Frank" pictured a grinning, pink clad Amy dragging a dog on a lead, this one shows her languid on a chair in an empty classroom, peering moodily out from between gothic fronds.
Well, it is called "Back to Black". Noticeably thinner (her shrinking frame has elicited mutterings of 'anorexia' from interviewers) and more angst-stricken, undercutting the powerful, almost masculine voice is a dissonant note of fragility - despite the bold reassurance of lines like "I'll battle till this bitter finale/Just me, my dignity and this guitar case." ("Some Unholy War").
Unlike "Frank", a bright-eyed newcomer surveying the musical landscape, Back to Black is a leap into the abyss of self-exploration. In contrast to her 2003 debut, there are no jazz standards covered and her writing credits appear on every track, oozing intimacy.
It works: we're poised on the edge of her cliffhanger. Let's just hope she doesn't fall off.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Listen!,
This review is from: Back to Black (Audio CD)Amy may be trainwreck, but her music is anything but. This is a great album. Every song is listenable, with a couple that are going to be classics. If you liked her first album Frank, this one is even better. Great CD for the car!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff from Amy Winehouse,
This review is from: Back to Black (Vinyl) (LP Record)However...the recording is not in stereo....what gives?????? Too bad she is no longer with us. I'll probably by her Frank record as well.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album. (Review is for the UK pressing),
This review is from: Back To Black (Vinyl) (LP Record)This is a truly beautiful album. The music, the writing, Amy Winehouse had such talent. I'm relatively new to vinyl, and I'm pretty skeptical with purchasing new music on this medium. 'Back To Black' is an album I knew I wanted in my collection when I started building it. I read many reviews on various pressings of certain albums, and this one came up a lot, with many complaints about the US pressing. Many unsatisfied customers were saying that it didn't sound right. It was distorted and dirty sounding, when the album should sound anything but. However the reviews for the Limited UK pressing were phenomenal. I'm not sure if the US pressing that was causing all of these issues was discontinued or not, but it disappoints me that an inferior version of Amy's work lives on, poorly representing her efforts. I didn't buy my copy of the UK pressing on Amazon, however I was lucky enough to come across a new sealed copy of it at HMV of all places for a reasonable price. To help figure out which is US and which is UK, the UK pressing shows Amy sitting on a chair in front of a blackboard, and the US pressing shows her in a bathtub with an all black background. I do know that there are two different pressings in the US, the original 2006 press, and the 2007 repress. Unfortunately I'm really not sure which of the two US ones is the bad one, or if it's both. I haven't found enough reviews that specifically said which the customer had that was bad. Either way, the Limited UK pressing is on 180 gram, and despite being labeled "Limited", it seems readily available from many music retailers in Canada.
I am very happy with my purchase, and recommend this album to anyone, regardless of your taste in music. This is a genre defining album that will live on for generations. If you can find a copy of the UK pressing, buy it. If not, please research first to make sure you're getting something that sounds good.
5.0 out of 5 stars AMY WINEHOUSE-BEST M U S I C CD ON THE PLANET-BACKTOBLACK-PLS LET HER KNOW-,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)AMY WINEHOUSE BACK TO BLACK MUSIC CD..............W E L L HERE GOES......
EVERY TUES MAKE A TRIP TO HALIFAX LIBRARY FOR MOVIES AND 2-3 MUSIC CDS
7 DAYS LATER RETURN ITEMS TO LIBRARY.......MUSIC CDS SOME SOUND NOT TO
BAD....SOME PLAIN R O T T E N TERRIBLE SONGS U LIKE 10 YEARS OK...TODAY
WINEHOUSE CD ...OUT OF THIS WORLD.......PLAYED IT EVERYDAY ON CAR CD
PLAYER....ALSO RENEW THIS CD FROM LIBRARY 3 TIMES.....
STARTED WATCHING AMY WINEHOUSE CONCERTS ON YOU TUBE
SOME VIDEO 55 MINUTES LONG...SHOW DIFFERENT CONCERTS AROUND THE
WORLD.......W O W AMYS VOICE....HER STYLE.....HER BAND HER DANCERS...
THE PEOPLE WATCHING......SHE PUT A SPEEL OVER US ALLLLL........
WE MISS YOU SO MUCH AMY WINEHOUSE ........
GOT TO G O.......I THINK I C R Y FOR A LITTTLE WHILE......
GONNA HOLD MY LITTLE DOG CRISSY.....NOT WELL TODAY...TOO SENTIMENTAL
WHO EVER YOU ARE....GET AMY WINEHOUSE BACK TO BLACK MUSIC CD
PLAY IT ONCE A DAY ON GOOD STEREO......YOU WILL GET HOOOKED....
LIKE THE REST OF US..........
AL AND CRISSY
5.0 out of 5 stars RIP,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)I had heard of Amy, of course, but didn't listen to her until after her untimely demise. it's an excellent CD.
4.0 out of 5 stars Black is Beautiful!,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)There is no doubt that Amy Winehouse had a gift in this genre of music. She made me relive a period & time of music that was so original. So much soul, blues...and hearing so many great instruments. That is what is missing from music today; hearing great sax performances, horns, strings etc.! She brought this style of music back to the forefront of music while we were blessed to have her on this earth.....and for evermore thanks to her music continuing on!
1.Rehab: Wow this song I think became even more profound after her death. It makes me think of how many times when we know someone struggling with addictions...how it is a delicate balance in attempting to get them help...or even get them to realize they need help. This song of course shows her resistance to that kind of help.....but only if had worked...we'd still be hearing her to this day! I wish rehab worked!
2.Back to Black: What a gorgeous vocal on a love lost.....relationship in turmoil....a betrayal....one that leaves your soul so far down...it's like a miner trying to climb back to the top again.....you feel like you'll never get out......up, up, up, up, up...did you see that light...what light.....I saw a glimmer....no you didn't....yes I did...there it is ...see it now...there it is...I see it now....we're almost there...almost back again....!!
3.Love Is A Losing Game: Such a clear & precise vocal on this song...a real throwback to music we heard often in the 40's, 50's and even prior to those years. A song about loss for sure...she was so good at connecting with her audience with these type of song compositions. In the end, the words are right.....people say statistically that half of all marriages end in divorce.....and I say ...yes, that's because the other half are "separated"! Ha! Ha! So true and she transmits those thoughts in this song.
4.Wake Up Alone: Love the retro intro for this song...this song reminded me of days of Dusty Springfield and then some of the great soul artists...Aretha etc...coupled with the way the song was constructed stylistically. This is one of my favorite songs on the CD..the way she enunciates each word....it feels like she's right next to me in some club singing it! That vivid!
5.Some Unholy War: This is my favorite song on the CD.....the arrangement so good. The lyrics & her ability vocally was just so awesome. The song tells the story of a strong woman who stands beside her man (the downfall of many a good woman) that's how strong her attraction to him is.....no matter what! I call it the "red flag" song! Ha! Ha! I just love the gutteral blues in this song......I think her best song ....on all her CD's!
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Painful,
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)Listening to "Back to Black" after Amy's death this past summer is difficult. When the cut "Rehab" begins, one feels anger almost, that Amy did not, in fact, go to rehab and stick it out till she was better. What a loss to the world of music, and us, her fans! Listening to the rest of this album, one marvels at this singer's capabilities, the nuanced tones and lyrics. She was truly an artist, who felt deeply and wrote about these feelings and actions as a result of them. Besides a certain sadness, it gives me a great deal of pleasure each time I listen to "Back to Black". Amy had "IT", as they call it on the reality singing competitions on TV. Her voice lures you in and even if the listener can't relate to the drinking references or the depression, it is impossible not to go on Amy's journey with her on this record. When I first heard certain cuts, such as "Holy War", I didn't think much of it. After repeated listening, however, it is now one of my favourites on the album. The background music is awesome! I also love how she incorporates musicians playing steel drums, horns etc. The power of the music speaks for itself. The lure of Amy speaks for itself. I love this singer...and I mourn the fact that there will be no new music from her. If she is somewhere in an afterlife, I hope she's having a hell of a good time and singing her lungs out!
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