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Amy Winehouse's death in summer of 2011 hit me in a personal way. Her debut album, 'Frank', was a hidden treausure I discovered listening to a local independent radio, and her phenomenal follow up - 'Back to Black' - knocked me off my feet. A completely immersive, oddly seductive, piece of contemporary art about addiction: addiction to illegal drugs, addiction to alcohol, addiction to the - often unhealthy - company of others. Lyrically the record is incredibly emotional and innately personal, teeming with meaning whilst playing beneath the gorgeously soulful veneer of Winehouse's voice and Mark Ronson's sublime production.
The album has just increased in its emotional heft now that Winehouse has left us. This record was truly her gift to the world, a melodic storybook of feeling, created a few short years before her descent into the problems she discusses here: the problems that ultimately ended her tragic life. The album can be listened as one or just as satisfactorily in parts, with no real 'standouts': the entire album, every song, is created so perfectly, dealing with different aspects of Amy's life, from her need for companionship and her destructive need for illicit substances. The record absolutely rolls by. Goosebumps galore, emotions shattered.
This is truly one of my favourite albums of all time and is one of the greatest albums of the decade, in terms of popular music. Favourite tracks include 'He Can Only Hold Her' and 'Just Friends' - note that I say 'include' because I really adore them all so much it hurts. Just writing this evokes feelings and regret. Winehouse had so much more left to give, and 'Back to Black' (and 'Frank' to a lesser extent) was the first chapter of a book that was going to be so phenomenal. Whilst she was here, she was great. Now she's gone, she is one of the greats.
I love this album. It's such a shame that she came to a tragic end. God bless her soul.
This album is what I would describe as modern jazz with a twist of RnB. The whole album is a musical masterpiece and Amy has a fantastic soulful voice that fits the album really well. The album is very personal to Amy and it showcases her AMAZING talent. I love the song Rehab. It is quite an upbeat song for Amy (she usually did just ballads) and it's quite true to her life. Amy was always in and out of rehab and I believe this was her way of getting back at her critics. The song is very catchy and addictive and I love it. It's my favourite song by Amy.
The rest of the album is pretty much modern jazz with more impressive songs such as Back To Black and Love Is A Losing Game. Both of these songs are sultry ballads but the way Amy sings them is so believable. You actually feel what she is singing and the clever use of lyrics fit the songs perfectly well. Her ballads are about lost love and failed relationships, life lessons mainly. They are songs you can relate to and she "talks" to you in her music. I still feel Amy through her music today, even if she has sadly passed.
This is a very well produced and well executed album. I'm not normally a fan of jazz but I like Amy's twist on jazz and she brings it up to date in her own way. This is 2000s jazz not 60s jazz.
R.I.P Amy Winehouse.
Since Amy Winehouse's death, 'Back To Black' has come back into the spotlight. This has certainly introduced many more people to her music, but what about it's original release? Was it as good the first time round.
From the moment 'Rehab' blasts out of the speakers, it is clear that this is going to be a different, interesting, and certainly exciting CD.
The title track, 'Back To Black', is certainly worth the title. Talking about a dead relationship, Winehouse uses blunt but romantic images through her lyrics, "We only said goodbye with words".
The whole album can almost be describe as a romantic break-up, "A sky above the blaze, only lovers see."
1. Rehab - A great opening to the album. It sets the scene both musically and lyrically. Jazzy with the brassy 'No, No, No', this is a quality track.
2. You Know I'm No Good - This is another single of her album. Lyrically, it hints to the listener the reason for the romantic break-up, which the album portrays, 'Then you notice likkle carpet burns',
3. Me & Mr Jones - A bit more laid back rhythmically than the ones earlier. 'What kind of fuckery is this?' It certainly is no 'fuckery', this is another quality song.
4. Just Friends - This is another more laid-back song, with a syncopated drum-beat, and perhaps can be over-looked when listening to the album as a whole. However, with the ironic title, this is an interesting song, as she certainly does not want to be Just Friends, 'Can we be alone?'
5. Back To Black - My favourite song on the album. There is the iconic opening bars. Perhaps one of the most darkest songs on the album, with a 'darker' melody and background, and lyrics such as 'I tread a troubled track, my odds are stacked, I'll go back to black.'
6. Love Is A Losing Game - One of the sadder songs on the album, I personally find this song a bit boring. I find it a bit too repetitive, and although beautiful lyrics, 'For you I was a flame, Love is a losing game'. altogether, musically, it doesn't do it for me.
7. Tears Dry On Their Own - I find this song one of the most tuneful, and perhaps 'showcases' the 'romantic break-up' at it's best, 'A sky above the blaze, only lovers see', and 'Should just be my own best friend, not fuck myself in the head with stupid men'.
8. Wake Up Alone - This is such a moving song, and shows the break-up 'victim' at their most vunerable, 'He gets fierce in my dreams, seizes my gut, he floors me with dread.'
9. Some Unholy War - A less memorable than many of the other songs, showing her loyalty to her lover, 'He can't lose with me in tow'. However, tunefully, it doesn't really stick in your head, and is a bit of a disappointment.
10. He Can Only Hold Her - There is good use of brass instruments and backing vocals to layer Winehouse's voice. It is an up-beat song. Not one I've personally listened to much though, so I don't have much to say for it.
11. Addicted - Who would guess that a whole song based on being "Addicted" to drugs, could be so jolly. With a lively tune, witty lyrics, "Tell your boyfriend, next time he around, to buy his own weed, and don't wear my shit down". This song, however, proves to be a fun listen, and a great end to a wonderful CD.
When Amy Winehouse passed away earlier this year you couldn't avoid her music as the media paid tribute to her by reminding the general public of what had made her famous in the first place.
And it was a prodigious talent which made Winehouse famous long before the tabloid press latched on to her. I prefer to remember Winehouse as the feisty and voluptuous young woman she was when her debut album "Frank" was released. At that time she was a fresh faced, curvaceous woman who oozed sex appeal and was sassy and self-confident.
I can still recall the shock I felt when I saw a picture of Winehouse taken just before "Back to Black" was released in 2006, showing an almost skeletal woman walking down the street looking utterly miserable. At the time the line her record company was feeding the press for this dramatic weight loss was an addiction to the gym on Winehouse's part but sadly time was to tell that it wasn't a mere addiction to the gym which was behind the weight loss.
Winehouse had undergone a turbulent period in her love life which inspired her to write "Back to Black". Although the album liner notes give thanks to "my boyfriend Alex", it's the name "Blake" which will ring a bell with most people, referring to the man who would become her husband for a while, Blake Fielder-Civil.
It seems to be generally accepted now that it was Fielder-Civil who dragged Winehouse into her worst addictions - certainly they were both as dependent on drugs as the other - but there seems to have been an addiction to one another as well which in hindsight was deeply unhealthy.
Winehouse was a woman who always wore her heart on her sleeve, and with "Back to Black" she produced what is quite possibly the most convincing break-up album ever made. Not every song is about breaking up but almost every one focuses on her ability to fall in love deeply and quickly. Her self-awareness and self-deprecation is perhaps what makes "Back to Black" so contagiously appealing however.
Winehouse was heavily inspired by the girl group sound of the late 1950s and early 1960s when she wrote "Back to Black" and it's obvious here - both on the liner notes which give thanks to the Shangri Las and on the general sound which is reminiscent of some of the best girl group music of the era. The producers who helped Winehouse channel her inspiration into something special were Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi.
Winehouse clearly listened to a lot of music in her life, finding inspiration in the music her parents listened to for sure, but also in other genres such as ska and reggae. In "Back to Black" you can hear echoes of the aforementioned Shangri Las and other girl groups such as the Shirelles. What makes the album work is how Winehouse has used her musical inspiration but given her songs a modern spin, particularly in the lyrics.
Back in the early sixties you couldn't really use the language Winehouse uses in her lyrics, so on the title track, a lament to losing a love to a rival, she wastes no time with lyrics that pronounce "He left no time to regret, kept his dick wet" - which just wouldn't have got past the censors fifty years ago.
On the opening track and lead single, "Rehab", Winehouse refers quite openly to her fondness for alcohol and her love of old soul and blues, paying homage to Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway in the process. Winehouse's voice was soulful - a deep, velvety instrument which was able to convey emotion without unnecessary vocal acrobatics. On "Rehab" she displays a disdain which works perfectly without being over dramatic. Her substance issues are also mentioned in "Addicted", the song which closes the album but the abiding sense when listening to "Back to Black" is that Amy Winehouse's biggest addiction was to falling in love.
I'm a right old cynic these days but what I love about "Back to Black" is not just the sound which takes me back to a youth which enjoyed discovering old music aimed at teenagers which was out before I was born but also the authenticity of it.
The title track is a heartbreaker and is one of those musical paradoxes which juxtaposes an almost cheerful doo-wop style backing track with lyrics which I recall moved me in a way no song had for some time when I first heard the song on release. Winehouse is clearly referencing her relationship with Fielder-Civil here and it's a glimpse into her relationship with him and an earlier betrayal by him. It's a song which gave me goosebumps when I first heard it - the darkness and the pain make for a work of art.
On "You Know I'm No Good", Winehouse uses a horn section to give the song a ska vibe whilst singing about relationship flaws in a truly self-deprecating manner, poking fun at her herself in a languid way. I think this song shows what a wonderful vocalist Winehouse was - she could convey pain in a beautiful way but here she relates her song with a coolness that you cannot fake.
Winehouse shows her influences again on "Me and Mr Jones", a potty mouthed song which with cleaner lyrics could have been performed by the Shirelles fifty years ago. The backing vocals on here are brilliant - with Winehouse performing them herself with great wit and irony.
For all the songs have such obvious influences on "Back to Black", Winehouse only sampled one song on the entire album. She picked Ashford & Simpson's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" which features on "Tears Dry On Their Own". The original song was a huge hit of course for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Once again there's an incongruity when comparing the original song - a cheerful, epic love song - with a song which once again channels Winehouse's self-deprecating nature but is also introspective and melancholy.
The standout track on "Back to Black" for me is "Love is a Losing Game". For anyone who has ever loved and lost, this song will speak to them in a way few others can do. The arrangement is quite wonderful, capturing the pain of losing in love but not managing to hide the latent optimism in Winehouse's heart.
What I love about this song in particular is the honesty and raw emotion. There's no bitterness towards others in her songs and if there's anyone she wants to blame in her songs, it's invariably herself. On "Love is a Losing Game" Winehouse's vocals are simple yet poignant, and it's probably the heartfelt nature of her performance that touches me every time I hear the song.
"Back to Black" only lasts 35 minutes but it's 35 minutes in the presence of a genius. Winehouse reveals more of herself on this album than any of the paparazzi shots, shambolic performances and drug busts could ever tell an outsider.
Perhaps if she had been able to live a more private life and let her music speak for itself people wouldn't have been so judgemental about her lifestyle. She clearly had issues in her life and perhaps her biggest flaw wasn't her addictive nature but her lack of self discipline. Not for Winehouse the carefully plotted career plan the likes of Madonna or Coldplay follow to the letter. Instead she was an artist who was led by her heart and a love of music which led her to channel her inspirations into something special.
For all the eulogies and tributes I have read dedicated to Amy Winehouse this year, and for all I have learned about her life, the thing that strikes me as abundantly clear in every one is Amy Winehouse's sense of fun and her love of laughter.
So for all that Back to Black reveals heartbreak, pain, raw emotion and betrayal, there isn't a trace of real anger, regret or resentment to be found there. That's something that should stand as a testament to the finest British female artist of her generation - along with the path she paved for artists such as Duffy and Adele to follow.
The saddest thing about "Back to Black" is the optimism which Winehouse seems to have retained even in her darkest emotional moments also acts almost as the closing chapter to her career.
You Know I'm No Good
Me and Mr Jones
Back to Black
Love is a Losing Game
Tears Dry on Their Own
Wake Up Alone
Some Unholy War
He Can Only Hold Her
Amy Winehouse's second album Back to Black was originally released in 2006, winning five Grammy awards and enjoying both commercial and critical success. The special edition was released in 2008 and this is the version I have.
The main album as a whole is excellent, filled with old-school soul anthems that still manage to sound fresh and new. My personal favourites are Rehab and Back to Black for their strong melodies but all of the songs are well chosen and Amy's distinctive voice sounds amazing. All in all this is a great album.
The bonus CD contains the popular and successful Valerie, but with the exception of To Know Him is to Love Him and the original demo of Love is a Losing Game, which showcases Amy's voice to great effect, I don't think this CD is as good as the first. Having said that, with 19 tracks in total it is to be expected that some are not as good as others.
Overall, this is a funky, soulful, memorable album that has deservedly enjoyed great success and I hope Ms Winehouse releases another CD soon!
2. You Know I'm No Good
3. Me & Mr Jones
4. Just Friends
5. Back to Black
6. Love Is a Losing Game
7. Tears Dry on Their Own
8. Wake Up Alone
9. Some Unholy War
10. He Can Only Hold Her
3. Monkey Man
4. Some Unholy War (Slower version)
5. Hey Little Rich Girl
6. You're Wondering Now
7. To Know Him Is To Love Him
8. Love Is a Losing Game (Original Demo)
I will readily admit that I was completely turned off by all the hype that surrounded Amy Winehouse a few years ago. Because of this it was a long while before I actually got round to listening to any of her stuff. It wasn't until my colleague bought me her album as a leaving present that I thought I ought to listen to the music before forming an opinion.
Back to Black is Amy's 2nd album, and I've got to admit a really decent piece of work. Its hard to describe her style, there are elements of Nina Symone and Nancy Sinatra, as well as a harder, modern edge that makes for a very individual and innovative sounding album.
The first thing to say is that the girl really can sing, whether she's belting out "Rehab" or delicately crooning on "Love is a Losing Game". I love the range and variety of her voice, it is immense! It is a truly unique voice and you know instantly that its her singing. I find that kind of refreshing in a climate of generic and broad pop music, where one singer sounds much the same as the next.
Her lyrics manage to flit seamlessly between the touchingly self deprecating to the visiously vitriolic. In a similar fashion, the album has a good mixture of up tempo and down beat tracks. Personal favourites are the albums title track "Back to Black" and "Love is a Losing Game" but to be honest I don't think there is a bad track on the album.
This album really took me by surprise. Following the hype surrounding her lifestyle I was expecting it to be a load of self indulgent garbage. To be honest I couldn't have been more wrong. "Back to Black" is a refreshingly original album which showcases Amy's exceptional vocal talent in breathtaking style. Well worth a 4/5 in my book!
I don't usually listen to much pop because I don't like being force-fed the same tunes by commercial radio stations and music television channels. However... every so often a sound will come wafting in over the airwaves that is simply too enticing to ignore. The bouncy opening beat and Wurlitzer of the single "Rehab" combined with a defiant voice singing:
"They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no"
immediately grabbed my attention the first time I heard it. Soulful backing vocals, classy sax licks, triumphant trumpets and strings all fuse into a very satisfying sound. It isn't too surprising then that "Rehab" achieved significant commercial success and won a load of awards to boot:
- Best Contemporary Song (2007 Ivor Novello Award)
- Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year (2008 Grammys)
"Back To Black" released in 2006 is Amy Winehouse's follow up album to her 2003 debut "Frank" and the winner of the 2008 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. The strong jazz / RnB sound of "Frank" has now been replaced with an emphasis on 60's Soul a la Motown. Sax, trumpets and guitars feature frequently and the two producers, Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, do an excellent job of creating polished tracks containing strong, memorable melodies. Amy Winehouse has a distinctive drawl when she sings and an emotive hoarseness to her voice that is vaguely reminiscent of Lauryn Hill. Her vocals sound more refined on "Back To Black" than her debut but her lyrics remain as uncomfortably upfront as ever, examining her love life, alcohol addiction and drug use. Amy's personal problems and troubled private life have been covered ad nauseam by the tabloid press so this review will focus firmly on the music!
I will be reviewing the double CD deluxe version released in 2007. To be honest, if I was a fan that had bought the original non-deluxe version of this album on release only to see a superior version released a year later, I would be feeling annoyed at the money-making tactics being employed. At the present time (May 2010) the deluxe version only costs one pound more on Amazon for 8 additional tracks on the bonus CD - I think this is a good deal if you don't own this album. If you already own the original version of "Back To Black", I think you have to be fanatical about Ms. Winehouse to justify purchasing the deluxe version. Of the 8 additional tracks on the bonus CD, you get:
- a slower version of "Some Unholy War" with jazzy drum brushes
- a stripped down demo acoustic version of "Love Is A Losing Game"
- a reggae tinted cover of "Cupid" by Sam Cooke
- a beatless, mellow cover version of "Valerie" by The Zutons
- an acoustic cover of "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears
- 3 new ska influenced tracks
None of the alternative versions / covers sound better than the originals to me and ska music is most definitely not something I listen to on a regular basis, so in my opinion the bonus CD does not significantly add anything to the album.
Moving onto the 11 tracks on the original CD, the high overall consistency and quality here means that I can almost play the album from the beginning and listen to it in its entirety without needing to skip any "filler" tunes. I say almost because the last 2 tracks have less appeal to me - the melody on "He Can Only Hold Her" is not engaging and "Addicted" is simply a moan at someone smoking all her weed.
The running time of this CD is around the 35 minute mark which may seem a little short to some, with 5 of the 11 tracks having a duration less than 3 minutes long. I, however would like to applaud the production team for refusing to pad out the tracks with increased repetition just for the sake of it; each tune now has far greater impact and repeated plays are encouraged.
Highlights for me include the aforementioned up-tempo opening track "Rehab" and 2 slower tracks. "Love Is A Losing Game" has a perfectly melancholic electric guitar melody heightened by orchestral strings in the background, a desolate sounding reverb, Amy's emotive voice and pleasing pop lyrics. "Wake Up Alone" contains another catchy electric guitar / piano melody and some incredibly soulful backing vocals that dramatically enhance the tune - I don't think I would like the track half as much without them!
"Back To Black" is a delicious slice of explicit, soulful pop inspired by the 60s Motown sound, marred only by the protagonist's troubles in real life. Highly recommended.
[Also reviewed at Ciao and Epinions]
Amy Winehouse is a figure who has courted much negative media attention in recent years. Her battle against drugs and alcohol has been so well documented, that it's easy to forget that underneath the two-foot hair, smeared makeup, torn clothing and slurred speech, that there is an immensely talented human being underneath.
Her second album, 'Back to Black' was an enormous success - earning her five prestigious Grammy Awards, and selling over 10 Million copies worldwide. With an incredible voice, one that is both emotive and incredibly soulful, she is also a phenomenal songwriter. The album was written in the aftermath of her break-up with her on-off boyfriend, Blake, and so is a record that is soaked in heartbreak and vulnerability. Her relationship with him is tragic in every sense - the idea of two people being so madly in love but at the same time, so bad for each other is one that transfers perfectly to music and lyrics.
The album is a step up from her eclectic debut, 'Frank', in that it has a Motown feel to it - a soulful vibe that still manages to sound fresh. Produced predominantly by Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, the album has an incredibly consistent sound - again, as a nod to the days when albums were not over-thought and instead sounded as if they were recorded over a period of two weeks.
'Rehab' is a fantastic start to the CD - with crisp production laced with horns and drums, it has an infectious chorus that you can't help but sing along to. The song is so distinctly sung and rich with personality, that it's no surprise that it has become Amy's signature track. The song itself was based on a true story - Amy's record label attempted an intervention and her subsequent refusal. "I'm gonna, I'm gonna lose my baby, so I always keep a bottle near me," she sings in one of the verses, noting that she wasn't an alcoholic but was simply depressed about the breakup of a relationship. It's perhaps one of the best songs of the last decade it terms of vocals and originality. It's swinging production and great melodies make it a fun song to listen to and an instant favourite.
The second track, 'You Know I'm No Good', explores the bad girl image that Amy has developed. With an incredibly simple, yet effective bass line and beat, her vocals really shine through in the song. Her throwaway remarks of "I've cheated my self, like I knew I would/I told you, I was trouble, you know that I'm no good" in the chorus are both admirable for their honesty and heartbreaking for their self-deprecation. The lyrics are deliciously dark, and Amy's smokey vocal delivery is flawless. An incredible track.
'Me and Mr Jones' has a plodding production, and layered vocals which are sung in the background, accompanying Amy's tribute to a strong, unfailing love. The song has quite an upbeat feel to it and soaring vocals on the ad-libs, which really impressed me on first listen. The song is a little aimless, and doesn't really have a clear-cut structure, but it has a definite charm to it.
Amy takes upon the role of the other woman in 'Just Friends', as she continues to explore the joyful misery of being young and with a heart that falls too easily. Maybe she doesn't paint the prettiest picture of herself with this album, but she is honest in a way that many of us rarely are. Amy uses the softer tones of her voice in the song, and the production begins slow and stripped back, and then rapidly gains momentum with saxophones feeding in, keeping the song from being monotonous. However, this song has always seemed filler for me. Perhaps that is only relatively speaking (given that there are so many sublime songs on the album, it's not fair to expect them all to be musical home runs). Not particularly memorable, regardless of how you look at it though.
An ode to a doomed love-affair, 'Back to Black' lives up to its name. With flawless production and a gothic feel to the song, the lyrics are wonderfully dark: "We only said goodbye with words/I died a hundred times/You go back to her, and I'll go back to black." After 'Rehab', I'd say that this was the most memorable and instant for me as a listener. While other tracks needed multiple explorations and repeated plays, the strong chorus and the distinct production (it's hard to describe, there is almost Victorian piano lick throughout the song) make it stand out. It's a tortured, monster of a track. The video for the song is also a must see - artistically shot, there is a metaphor of a funeral, as the clip ends with Amy burying her heart in a box. Just incredible in every sense of the word.
'Love is a Losing Game' is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. It's so understated and restrained - there's no big vocal moment, and the production is incredibly stripped back. This allows the lyrics to really take centre stage - the song is of such high quality that its words were even used in a final year Cambridge University English Exam for analysis. Exquisite and poetic: "Over futile odds/and laughed at by the Gods/and now the final frame/love is a losing game", she sings heartbrokenly. There is such a defeated tone in Amy's voice; it really strikes a chord with me and my own life. This is perhaps one of the most emotionally charged tracks I've ever heard. It underlines Amy's talent as a songwriter and her ability to communicate emotion. Simply amazing.
Track seven, 'Tears Dry on Their Own', has a slightly brighter feel to it. Sampling the classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", the fast tempo and breezy undulations in the melody, help communicate the message of being a survivor and a strong person. It makes a change from the gloominess of the previous two tracks, and adds another dimension to her as an artist.
'Wake Up Alone' is another post break-up track, that talks about life without the one you love. The lyrics are intelligent and insightful into that all-too familiar feeling. "It's okay in the day/I'm staying busy/Tied up enough so I don't have to wonder where is he" she sings with a sense of numbness about her. As with the lyrically best songs on the album, the production is scaled back (whereas the instrumentation on some of the weaker tracks in terms of what they are trying to say, often have a more jumbled feel to their arrangement). It's a wonderfully melancholic song, which I just love because I can relate to it so much.
A dark bass line and slightly distorted vocals kick off 'Some Unholy War', which sounds like a relic from the 1950s. However, Amy's voice sounds perfect in the song. Although in general, the song seems a little aimless and forgettable. It's a shame due to the promising start - but I suppose it's one of those songs that requires multiple listens.
Amy's throaty ad-libs amongst high-pitched horns at the start of 'He Can Only Hold Her' show her at her most creative. With plenty of "da da da"s and "doo"s coming from the background vocalists, this song seems almost like a 1960s girl band hit. What I like about the song is that it's not as dark as the other tracks, and is a more simple boy meets girl story, with a lighter sound than the rest of the CD. It's a pleasant track, but requires multiple listens.
'Addicted' has a degree of self-parody and bittersweet humour. With a fun sound to the arrangement, such as clattering percussion and the tinkling on a piano, the song is about drugs. Not exactly the most wholesome of topics, but it works as a good close to the record.
Admittedly, the album final couple of tracks do not match up to the brilliance shown earlier in the record, however, in balance, this album is a triumph. As I've already mentioned, the album takes you back to the golden era of music. With lyrics which read as poetry, Amy can be witty, heartbreaking and defiant - however, as she swings between her various emotions, her honesty and candour remains constant. Regardless of her personal struggles, it is hard to argue after to listening to this album, that she isn't one of the premiere vocalists and songwriters of our time.
I know Amy gets a really bad rap in the press and yes she has had some big issues in her personal life over the years and for some reason that has become bigger than her music. People dont actually realise she has an amazing, unique voice and her album is actually a must have. She doesnt sound quite like anyone else in the music industry and thats part of what makes her music so special. This really is a must have album in my opinion as the songs never get old, you could actually listen to them over and over again and never get bored. I for one cannot wait for her next album, Ive got high hopes for it after hearing this one.
There will be tracks on there that we all know and love such as "Back To Black", "You Know Im No Good" and "Love Is A Losing Game" all of which have been massive hits. There is also a bonus disk with this album which has some unreleased tracks that I for one had not heard, personally I dont think there as good but hey other people might like it.
This was Amys second album that was released in 2006 and in 2007 it was the biggest seller of the year and has only just been beaten on Amazon into the second biggest seller by The Kings Of Leon.
My personal favourite tracks on the album are Back To Black & You Know Im No Good they just have such a calming tune.
As this album has been for a while now the price has really dropped so you could get it in music stores both online and in store for around £5 so Id get it if I was you, highly recommend it to everyone this really is a must have album for your music collection!!!!!!
Back To Black is Amy Winehouse's most famous and best album by far.
She wrote it whilst suffering from a broken heart after being left by Blake Fielder-Civil, and this album is about how she felt whilst going through the break up, and her subsuquent failed relationship with new boyfriend Alex. (Somewhat aptly timed after the album was released, Blake and Amy got back together and got married and are now divorcing)
The songs on the album will touch very close to home to anyone who has broken up with the love of their life (Back to black, tears dry on their own, and I wake up alone in particular).
Anyone who has then got with a new person after having their heart broken, only to go on and hurt that new person because you still miss your ex will relate well to 'You know I'm no good', and 'He can only hold her'.
Rehab (whilst ironic now) is a particularly good song about how she felt after the break-up, and how everyone was concerned about her, but her Dad knew she'd pull through, as it was just a broken heart making her drink and behave recklessly, it also, despite the lyrics has an upbeat feel in the music and a sort of 'perseverence' feel about it, like Amy is determined to feel better on her own without professional help.
All in all the album is a fantastic listen, and despite Amy's reputation and 'druggy' persona, it does not take away the fact that she made a really good quality album that even my Grandad will listen to.
As the album is not a new release it can be purchased for around £5 from amazon, and its totally worth splashing the cash on!
2. You Know I'm No Good
3. Me And Mr Jones
4. Just Friends
5. Back To Black
6. Love Is A Losing Game
7. Tears Dry On Their Own
8. Wake Up Alone
9. Some Unholy War
10. He Can Only Hold Her
Amy Winehouse needs no introduction, and I think it is such a shame that the first thing that springs to mind is her drug abuse. Immensley talented and with a chilling, soulful voice, to think she may not make another album if her health is continually risked is devastating.
This is the only Winehouse album I have lsitened to as I haven't heard her debut effort as of yet. I found this to be a fantastically chilled out, relaxing effort from Winehouse. It's great to now be able to judge her on her music, rather than her lifestyle. Laid back and relaxing, this album has made it's way towards my all time favourites list.
The most famous tracks on this album are great; rehab, you know I'm no good, and the album title back to black. These three songs being the most famous are very good and entertaining songs. All of Winehouse's tracks involve a little backing, but unlike some modern artists her voice itself is strong enough to stand without a large, strong backingfromf a band.
The titles of some songs are clearly showing the tracks are related to Amy's life, her trials and tribulations. Examples of this are 'Rehab' and 'addicted'.
The music itself is what should be focussed on, and I found 'you know I'm no good' to be my favourite track on the album. The general soulful feeling behind the track is carried through this whole album. I just feel that this number in particular shows Amy's voice off perfectly, and the song is very well written. The production of this track is perfect, with her voice, and the backing with a light drum beat throughout.
Winehouse's voice blends perfectly with the backing music, and all the tracks in the album seem to have a similar feel to them. All telling a story and well written, alot of hard work has paid off to produce a wonderful album. From the opening 'rehab' through to the closing 'addicted' I strangely found myself not skipping any tracks. I find that I usually like one or two songs from an artist (without liking a particular genre) but there is not one track on here that I dislike. Upbeat music with real life lyrics, there is a real R&B feel to this music.
I never really liked Amy Winehouse cos she's such a baghead but my mum loves this album and it's grown on me even though Amy is still a state.
She has got a strong voice considering how tiny she is and I think this album sounds a bit like the jazz records my uncle used to listen to. It has got a lot of her hits on it like Rehab and Tears Dry On Their Own and even the rest of the songs on the album are catchy and well written.
Back To Black is my favourite song on the album cos it's so strong and it brings me out in goosebumps sometimes. On this album Amy sings depressing songs but they are not properly depressing like Morrisey and people like that.
There are about 13 songs on the album and even though she's not my fave singer in the world I can't say any of them are really bad and none of them seem to have been stuck onto the album just to fill it up.
There is a bit of swearing on the album but thats to be expected from a singer like Amy cos she uses the swear words to get across how angry and sad she is and it works better than hearing Anthea Turner swearing on Hells Kitchen which just sounds stupid.
The music itself on the album is good because it's so catchy and makes you tap your feet but it's really the strength of Amy's voice that carries the album and has made it such a classic even though it's only been released for a couple of years now.
My mum has other Amy Winehouse albums but this is the one that gets played most often cos it's the best of all of them plus I like it the most cos I like hearing her hit singles instead of all the rubbish on the Frank album that she brought out first.
Amy Winehouse is an award winning, eclectic solo artist from London, UK. After the release of her smash hit 'Rehab' she became massively famous and beyond doubt, not for all the right reasons! As all of you will know, the troubled artist has been in and out of the media for at least the last year and a half for her battle with drugs and other unruly behaviour. This, I think, is a real shame because Amy Winehouse is such a gifted singer and song writer but unfortunately the focus has been completely taken away from her exceptional natural talent and the spotlight has been put on her personal life so I hope to make this review more about the music than my opinions of the artist! So far, she has released two solo albums:
Back To Black (2006)
[Disc 1] (Deluxe Version)
2. You Know I'm No Good
3. Me & Mr Jones
4. Just Friends
5. Back To Black
6. Love Is A Losing Game
7. Tears Dry On Their Own
8. Wake Up Alone
9. Some Unholy War
10. He Can Only Hold Her
[Disc 2] (Deluxe Version)
3. Monkey Man
4. Hey Little Rich Girl
5. You're Wandering Now
6. Love Is A Losing Game (Original)
**MY FAVOURITE TRACKS**
I have to say, I don't listen to this song half as much as I used to but I thought that I should probably give it a mention as it is this track that put Amy Winehouse where she is today! According to an interview with Mark Ronson, this song came about when he and Amy were having a conversation one day and talking about rehab, she said something about rehab, no, no, no and Mark thought that these would make really good lyrics, he wasn't wrong there! This track is catchy right from the off, it starts with an introduction to Amy's wonderful soulful vocals and you are instantly hooked in with the catchy "no, no, no" part. As I said, I don't listen to this track as much as I used to as it became really overplayed on the radio and music channels which put me off slightly as it started to become irritating but through no fault of the artist! It is a very good track but one that if overplayed is likely to get annoying. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "I didn't get a lot in class but I know it don't come in a shot glass, they tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no". I would rate this song 8/10. (Would probably be a 9 or a 10 if I hadn't heard it so often!).
**5. Back To Black**
This song has a more solemn feel to it in comparison to the bouncy, light hearted feel of rehab. It starts off with a few simple chords on the keys with a strong bass line that is very distinct. It seems as though this song shows a more vulnerable side to Amy, one that we definitely didn't uncover in Rehab. There is a part in the song which is almost like a funeral march where everything is slowed down and the word 'black' is repeated, making it even more sad and moody, then the pace picks up again and the catchy chorus comes back around. It's a great song and another side to Amy that isn't shown on a lot of tracks. Apparently a lot of the tracks on this album are to do with her husband Blake so I suspect that this is the case with this track. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "We only said goodbye with words, I died a thousand times, you go back to her and I go back to black". I would rate this song 10/10.
**7. Tears Dry On Their Own**
Again we see a more light hearted side to Amy, although the lyrics are not supposed to be happy and mellow more 'I don't need you' sort of stuff. I think that this song is definitely a feel good track and one that is likely to make you feel even just a little bit better if you have just broke up from a relationship, I know it did to me anyway. Much like the chorus on most tracks, it is incredibly catchy, as are the verses with the brilliant mixture of sounds produced by the band. I don't know what/who this song is about; I would hazard a guess at an ex or something. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "As we kiss goodbye the sun sets, so we are history, your shadow covers me" I would rate this song 9/10.
**5. Hey Little Rich Girl**
This song is awesome!!! It has a more bouncy, happy feel to it and also some AMAZING vocals from Amy's backing singers Ade & Zalon, how they manage those high notes I will never know! It starts off with a high pitched reggae/ska style riff on the guitar and the Amy sings her way through the brilliant lyrics and belts out the fantastic chorus, this is definitely one of my favourite songs by any artist in the last couple of years. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "You left for London when you were 19, had to pawn all your nice clothes, just living on dreams". 10/10
**6. You're Wandering Now**
I love this song so much. It really reminds me of New Year's Eve and I only realised why the other day while trying to figure it out. If I remember correctly, this song was the track that first introduced me to the amazing vocal performance of Amy Winehouse on Jools Holland on New Year's Eve! It's a brilliant song, very catchy; I would recommend it to everyone. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "You're wandering now, what to do now you know this is the end, you're wandering now how you will pay for the way you misbehaved". 10/10.
**MY OVERALL OPINION**
I love this album so much. I think that more focus and attention should be put on Amy's raw talent rather than her personal life. Yes, she has made mistakes but nobody can say that she isn't an amazing musician. Perhaps if the media focused more on the good things that she has achieved, such as this album, rather than the bad, then it might give her more of an incentive to get back to the studio and do what she does best, create fantastic pieces of music. Before I'd heard this album I would have never chosen to listen to this sort of music but Amy has completely changed that with this album, I thin that everyone should at least give it a chance, you won't be disappointed, I certainly wasn't! I can't wait for the next album.
Thanks for reading!
The first time Amy Winehouse appeared on the scene, it was with a flurry of similar young, female singer-songwriters. I was vaguely aware of her, but she drifted out of view for a few years and it wasn't until I'd heard Rehab played for the millionth time that I even remembered her. She looked different - the beehive, eyeliner and Minnie Mouse outfits all helped to create a memorable look. As her records sold, her little sparrow legs seemed to get skinnier, her hair higher, and her tattoos more exposed.
"Rehab" was the first release from this album; it was the hit that got people talking and made them notice her. (Surely it was a gamble to release a song about her record company trying to control her lifestyle, and the fact that she had a problem with drink?!) People say we should ignore a person's lifestyle and judge them on their music alone - this is impossible. The music she makes is a direct result of the events of her life.
If you read any newspapers last year, it seems a safe assumption that you know something of Amy's lifestyle, as her reputation precedes her. There is something about Amy - her singing talent, or her ability to express emotion through her lyrics, that reminds me of Billie Holiday. She certainly isn't the first singer to have a tumultuous lifestyle off stage and talk about that through her songs. (Nor is she the first to take drugs or make bad desisions about men.)
This album was reputedly inspired by the relationship she had with a guy who went back to his ex and broke her heart - although she is now married to him. (Maybe the records sales changed his mind?) The songs almost wallow in low self esteem. Amy tells her subject "You know I'm no good," and describes cheating with her ex, being the next man's "other woman soon". This is a girl who just can't help herself.
Perhaps Amy's attitude can be summed up with "Love is a losing game" - there is a lot of misery on this album. Not "Oh gosh, I wish this boy would call me" misery as personified by cheery American blondes, but real, heartbreak misery; "You go back to her... and I go back to black."
It's not all relentlessly downbeat - "Tears dry on their own" samples "Ain't no mountain high enough" by Marvin Gaye. The overall quality of this album is top notch - as well as being a gifted song writer, Ms Winehouse manages to get the very best musicians on this album. This creates an incredibly tight sound, reminiscent of 1950s / 60s style, but completely fresh and new. There is plenty to get you dancing - the opening riff of "Me and Mr Jones" could well influence a new generation of kids wanting to take up drumming. There is a touch of skiffle, and a recurring theme of the blues. Not to mention a whole lotta soul.
Mark my words, when Amy Winehouse will release a new album it will become the fastest selling album by any artist in the UK ever. I think that the UK is besotted by interest and captivation with Amy Winehouse. Her story, her songs, her voice, her crazyness - the UK love it. This is an impressive second album by any artist and a much needed improvement on vocals, production, lyrics, songwriting, style takes place.
Rehab, is so cool and funky and so relatable to Amy's own life it's ironic, massive song. You Know I'm No Good is my fave song of the whole album, i occasionally am humming it without even knowing, the lyrics are so good and i think her vocal is amazing on record. Me and Mr Jones is another example of a great album song on the album - i think lyrically it's quite meaningful and true. I didnt like Just Friends that much, just found it abit boring. Back To Black, amazing chorus - lovely title to the album and greatly and meaningful sang. Love Is A Losing Game I think is responsible for 1 million album sales - amazing beautiful ballad.
Tears Dry On Their Own, another one i keep humming, funky groovy and soulful in every way also rather amusing. Good one! again.... The rest I didnt get that much either but i did like Addicted quite abit. I think there are about eight amazing songs on this album, but the other 3 i could do without. The ones I mentioned above, are namely faviourites.
Amy Winehouse is probably one of the greatest talents in the UK, and this album is beyond brillant. The songs are soulful, her album is even better than her debut, it's quite perfection and groomed perfectly. Lyrically I can't fault it, I think there is combinations of ballads and uptempo songs and i think it'd atcually appeal to every single type of person in the UK - youngsters, teenagers, adults and older folk - It's songwriting and production genius. One of my faviourite albums of last year and i didnt want to try it untill I heard Rehab and at that point the UK was going Winehouse crazy, then I heard the rest of the single's and then I just had to listen to this album. Amy-zing.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Rehab Album Version
2 You Know I'm No Good
3 Me & Mr Jones (Fuckery)
4 Just Friends
5 Back To Black
6 Love Is A Losing Game
7 Tears Dry On Their Own
8 Wake Up Alone
9 Some Unholy War
10 He Can Only Hold Her