Amy Winehouse – ‘Back to Black’ | Classic Record Review

Taking a look back at Amy’s finest work in Back to Black

Back to Black has to be one of my all-time favourite albums. Amy Winehouse creates in-depth and raw honesty with her lyrics that in my opinion make her one of the greatest songwriters of this generation.
Back to Black definitely has a change in sound and style to Amy’s Debut Frank, Frank has a young and naive sound whereas Back to Black is the first glimpse of the darker side to Amy.

With producers, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi on the Album Back to Black reached a more mainstream audience than Frank. Back to Black has influences of hip-hop and jazz that comes through in both the production and Winehouse’s vocals.

What makes Amy Winehouse so unique as an artist is the raw emotion that goes into all of the lyrics for example the lyrics to ‘Wake Up Alone‘ are so personal and genuine; “this ache in my chest, as my day is done now. The dark covers me and I cannot run now“.

Alongside the pure emotion put into this album, there is a witty and sarcastic side in tracks such as ‘Rehab‘ and ‘Addicted‘. ‘Rehab’ is one of the songs from the album that reached a success amongst a wider audience and charted at 7 in the UK and number 9 in the US, being Amy’s only top 10 hit in the US. In the song, Amy sings very openly and honestly about her battle with addiction but does it in a very cynical and sarcastic way.

The song ‘Back to Black’ was heavily influenced by girl-groups from the 1960s and is considered one of Amy’s signature songs. “Back to Black” is a macabre and melancholy song about love and heartbreak. The pain and emotion that drives this song can be heard in both the lyrical content and the vocal delivery.

To me, “Love Is A Losing Game” is a masterclass in how to write an incredible song. The lyrics to this song are like no other, “Over futile odds, And laughed at by the gods, And now the final frame, Love is a losing game”.

There are a few tracks on the album that didn’t reach wide commercial success like “Some Unholy War” but a personal favourite of mine is “Just Friends” as it shows a more playful side to the album. Produced by Salaam Remi the track is cohesive with the rest of Amy’s jazz catalog.

Back to black is a hugely influential album and paved the way for artists such as Lana del ray, Adele, and Lady Gaga. It’s safe to say that 14 years later this album has definitely left its mark on music.

Words by Holly Sawal

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