Amy Winehouse is why the rabbis invented the laws of kol isha and tzniut. The 23 year-old Jewish Londoner is a surly, foulmouthed drunk and full-tilt, half-nekkid tabloid diva — a council flat JAP, if you will. And by G-d, is she terrific.
Winehouse dropped her first release in 2003, the jazz-heavy Frank, which she regards as a “quintessential break-up album.” The album earned her several nominations for Britain’s top music prizes, the lead single, “Stronger Than Me,” taking the Ivor Novello songwriting prize. Her impeccable vocals, bitter irony, and penchant for drama have thus understandably sent her skyrocketing up the British charts and likewise drawn the attention of prominent hip-hop artists such as Ghostface.
With her latest release, Back to Black, in both character and chord, Winehouse comes across as a throwback to Motown (look out Kelefa Sanneh!), albeit bringing a modern twist musically and lyrically to the mid-’60s R&B sound. Back to Black is reminiscent in some respects to Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, but ultimately bears more resemblance to a less-gothic Portishead. All-in-all, it’s an excellent release without a single failing track, and as such, satiates the desire for new Soul.
But hey, don’t take my word for it: Here’s the video for the lead single from Back to Black, “Rehab.”
Role model she ain’t, but damn can that girl belt a tune. In fact, she should probably book a tour with Scarlett Johansson when her Tom Waits covers album drops. That’d be freakin’ awesome.