Cries of loneliness, depression and a desire for love, the veiled presence of alcohol, drugs and sex and their quiet muffle by the sweet acoustics of a jazz band unite to form the instant classic that is Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black. The last album released in her unfortunately short lifetime, Back To Black incorporates a 60’s soul-layered with classic R&B and jazz, topped by a hip-hop edge. As one of the very few albums I can listen to any day without skipping a song, the collection definitely deserves its proper recognition (as if five Grammys weren’t enough.) I’ll only share my top three on the album, although it’s very tempting to post a link to each song.
If the incredible instrumentation isn’t what pulls you in, it is the emotional story-telling she relays in each tune. A personal favorite, “Me & Mr. Jones” shares the musical connection that Winehouse had with hip-hop artist Nas. Ironically, the artists both shared the same birthday (September 14th) and Winehouse even name-drops Nasir’s daughter, Destiny, within the song.
“Mr. Destiny 9 and 14, nobody stands in between me and my man, ’cause it’s me and Mr. Jones.”
A battle of love and drugs, “Addicted” is the story of Winehouse’s infatuation with weed rather than her desire to be with her lover. Sung over an upbeat canvas, the song proves to be both comical and quirky.
On “Tears Dry On Their Own”, Winehouse sings a song of heartbreak while simultaneously pushing the message that she’ll be more than alright without her past lover. When it comes to break-up songs, this one is definitely near the top of the list.
Bonus: In honor of the late singer, make sure you check out the Organized Noize/Dungeon Family remix to “Tears Dry On Their Own” released shortly after her death.
If you’re similar to me when it comes to a love for music, research everything about an artist after you enjoy one of their projects. In the case of Amy Winehouse, make sure you also check out her first album Frank as well as her posthumous work, Lioness: Hidden Treasures.
*originally published on TheRedefined.Com, now CrackTheCrown.com.