Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Albums2010 #42: Back To Black

I can't remember what I thought when I first came across Amy Winehouse. She seemed like a breath of fresh air and yet oddly, she wasn't. The beehive hairdo, the retro soul sound- it was like something straight out of Motown and the 1960s and at the time, it was a perfect throwback to an earlier sound. It helped, of course that her voice was one of a kind and she was dripping in talent- all of which was on fine display in her breakout album, 2006's Back To Black.

Where to begin? The now somewhat melancholy first single, 'Rehab' was a monster hit- and quickly was followed up by 'You Know I'm No Good', 'Back To Black', 'Tears Dry On Their Own', 'Love Is A Losing Game' and 'Just Friends.' There's honestly not a 'dud' to be found in any of the released singles from the album- though to me, 'Tears Dry On Their Own' was one that stood out right away. It samples from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 classic 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' but instead of an uplifting song, it sort of inverts itself and instead carries a lot of melancholy about the end of a relationship.

'Me and Mr. Jones' is another favorite of mine off this album- it's just pure smooth soul goodness wrapped up in perfection... listening to this album all over again in the wake Winehouse's passing only makes her death even more melancholy. This was a rare musical talent who fell prey to the excesses of fame before she could really show the world just what she was capable of.

This album is a lot like a long cool drink of beer and a cigarette at the end of a long night- in the right circumstances, there's just nothing better out there.

Overall: **** out of 4- a gem of an album from an amazing musical talent that died far too young. Tragic, melancholy, dark and smokey beauty at it's finest.

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