20. Addicts (2006)
After all their emotional struggle, the Back to Black album concludes with a humorous hymn to marijuana. You could build an argument that Addicted is Winehouse once again drawing on a venerable jazz tradition (it’s easy to imagine Fats Waller singing about someone getting drunk in the ’30s), but maybe it’s better to just indulge in his scathing wit.
19. Our day will come (2011)
If Winehouse’s posthumous Lioness collection frequently featured the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped, he just didn’t record as much material, occasionally he came up with something cool, like in this discarded take from 2003 that turns Ruby’s old hit. & the Romantics in lovely soft-toned reggae.
18. Help Yourself (2003)
Despite all the lightness of the music – live drums and guitar, nice woodwind – time has given Help Yourself’s lyrics a grim irony, more nicely reflecting the same relationship that inspired Stronger. Than Me. “I really feel empathy looking through your bloodshot eyes,” he sings. “I can’t help you if you don’t help yourself.”
17. I Heard That Love Is Blind (2003)
Winehouse auditioned for her record label, only backed by an acoustic guitar; You can see video footage in the 2015 documentary Amy. She is on the same stage in Frank’s I Heard Love Is Blind show, a striking example of how fully formed her vocal talents were only in her teens.
16. Wake up alone (2006)
There were plenty of other artists from the 2000s dealing with retro soul, but aside from her voice, one of the reasons Winehouse stood out was her willingness to delve into the history of the genre. Certainly no one else was releasing songs like Wake Up Alone, audibly inspired by the music of the soul ancestors of the ’50s.
15. Midnight Round (2003)
When Winehouse complained that the Back to Black songs were too emotionally distressing for her to perform live, her father suggested that she sing standards. As his Soul II Soul-esque version of Thelonious Monk’s most famous composition demonstrates, he could have done it with considerable flair.
14. Stronger Than Me (2003)
The opening track of his debut album, Stronger Than Me won an Ivor Novello Award. If released today, it will most likely cause a storm over gender stereotypes in its lyrics, potentially obscuring the great song that it is: jazz guitar chords over a stark, sampled accompaniment, Winehouse in a particularly raucous way. .
13. Just Friends (2006)
Winehouse clearly loved reggae, but, as noted, she had a tendency to let her enthusiasm get the better of her. For example, accuse Andy and Joey of You’re Wondering Now, for once losing the darkness in the lyrics. His own Just Friends is so much better than his reggae versions, a simple, lilting beat, unruly lust in the lyrics.
12. Fuck Me Pumps (2003)
Upon arrival, Amy Winehouse was inducted into the post-Norah Jones wave of MOR female singers, which in retrospect seems extraordinary. There is certainly nothing in between in Fuck Me Pumps, a vicious, viciously witty, and prisonerless attack on Wag culture set to a deceptively sweet tune.
11. Body and soul (2011)
Video footage shows Winehouse racked with nerves before meeting Tony Bennett to record her father’s favorite song, but you wouldn’t guess from the end results. On Winehouse’s latest recording, months before her death, she sounds completely in command and seemingly indifferent to the company she maintains, taking risks with her voice.
10. Mr. Jones and I (2006)
One of Back to Black’s lightest moments, although there is no mistaking the darkness and emotional torment that lurks behind its agile lines: “Not worth the guest list.” Mr. Jones and I borrow the title from Billy Paul, his Soul sound from the early ’60s, and it begs the perennial question, “What kind of shit is this?”
9. In my bed (2003)
A highlight of Winehouse’s debut album Frank, the sound of In My Bed is equal parts blaxploitation soundtrack and exuberant Philadelphia soul, delivered through hip-hop. For a study of contrasts, compare the lyrics to that of You Know I’m No Good: same theme, cheating, but a completely different tone, more challenging, less emotionally heartbreaking.
8. Among the cheaters (2011)
A posthumously posted suggestion of what could have been, the only song Winehouse completed for her third album suggested an artist who was musically and emotionally delving into it. The sound is inspired by old-fashioned doo-wop, the lyrics are a haunting drawing of a volatile relationship: “I would give a thousand blows for my love.”
7. Valerie (2007)
Her cover of the 2006 Zutons single is Amy Winehouse’s most inescapable track of all, but if you want evidence of her stylistic prowess, here it is. Much more than Mark Ronson’s 60s soul arrangement, it is his voice that transforms the song, transforming the original in love into something that crackles with lewd intent.
6. What about men? (2003)
Winehouse’s debut album didn’t really prepare the listener for what happened next, but you occasionally get a clue. What about men? is a brutally frank dissection of her father’s affair, her parents’ subsequent divorce, and his lasting impact on her. Behind his soft-soul facade, it is deeply uncomfortable to listen.
5. Tears dry themselves (2006)
Back to Black usually works because the music perfectly complements the mood of the lyrics, but Tears Dry On Their Own works for precisely the opposite reason. The lyrics are alternately dejected and angry; the closest thing to positivity is resignation, but the song soars and the chorus feels exuberant.
4. Rehabilitation (2006)
A strange song that has remained ubiquitous in the decade since the death of its author, effectively someone with addiction problems who insists that they do not have a problem for three and a half minutes. Rehab should be hard to hear in light of what happened afterward, but it isn’t. The melody and arrangement, and indeed Winehouse’s challenging voice, are just too irresistible.
3. You know I’m not good (2006)
A grimy, guilt-ridden description of a loose relationship shaken by mutual deception: “Who’s the first to stick the knife?” – The lyrics of You Know I’m No Good are inspired by hip-hop, full of revealing details and sudden drops in emotional temperature: “I cried for you on the kitchen floor.” Winehouse’s voice and sordid sounding horns enhance the mood.
2. Back to Black (2006)
The greatest example of the synergy that existed between Winehouse and Ronson. His melody line sounds effortless, his lyrics switch between romantic agony and more earthly worries, “you like the breath and I like the breath”, while his production is the ideal companion: a brilliant tribute to melodrama. from a 60s girl group that feels original, never pastiche.
1. Love is a losing game (2006)
It was one thing to cover, or make music inspired by the Great American Songbook in the mid-2000s, that sort of thing was everywhere, but it was another thing to write an original song that could really have passed as part of the Great American Songbook. . Love Is a Losing Game is a song that came in sounding like a standard, as if it had been around for decades, rather than just being written by a 23-year-old. Covered by Prince and named by George Michael as his favorite song of all time, it is the bleak centerpiece of Back to Black, its least flashy and most heartbreaking moment. His live incarnation, stripped of the guitar and Winehouse’s voice, is even better.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism