It’s a little pathetic that up until recently, I knew more about Amy Winehouse’s personal struggles (Possibly abusive, certainly codependent jailbird husband! Tatty, ever-present ballet flats! Frequent bender-induced bruises! Mysteriously absent right incisor! Terrifying Morticia Addams beehive! Protruding clavicles!) than I did about her music. Well, the night of the (totally lame-o) Grammys, I kept hearing Amy Winehouse this and Amy Winehouse that, and then the next morning saw an article on Slate.com about why Amy isn’t just a whacked-out pop star, but an actually talented, unique voice in popular music.
So I finally decided to give her Back to Black album a listen, and now, even though I’m extremely tardy in jumping on the old Wino bandwagon, I’m a pretty big fan. It’s no coincidence that, in her (HUGE, ubiquitous) single, “Rehab,” she name-drops Ray Charles, a well-known junkie, on an album that gives much more than a hat-tip to classic Motown R&B. Besides which, the very fact that a 24-year-old faintly chavvy Jewish Brit (like, l’chaim, innit?) can sing like a world-weary 60’s Motown black woman is pretty remarkable. Ch-ch-check it out.