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Ivor Novello award winner, Mercury Music Prize and triple Brit nominee Amy Winehouse, follows the release of her new single “Rehab” and recent sell-out mini-UK tour, with the hugely anticipated release on October 30th of her new album ”Back To Black”. On “Back To Black”, the follow-up to her platinum debut “Frank” which established her as one of the most exciting and challenging artists in pop music, Amy confirms, beyond any reasonable or unreasonable doubt, what a truly remarkable talent she is.
Amy’s refined new songwriting approach and fearlessness as a lyric writer has been grafted onto some of the most astonishing material of her short career so far. “Back To Black” sees her teaming up once again with “Frank” producer Salaam Remi and, for the first time, with New Yorker Mark Ronson (Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and Christina Aguilera).
Two years ago, following the success of “Frank”, Amy began thinking about what she’d like to do with her second record. “Frank” was her grand and suitably blunt-speaking break-up record, and it won her a battalion of fans around the world, marking her out as one of the most distinct new voices in pop; confessional, elemental and with that rarest of combinations: humour and soul.
“I didn’t want to play the jazz thing up too much again. I was bored of complicated chord structures and needed something more direct. I’d been listening to a lot of girl-groups from the fifties and sixties. I liked the simplicity of that stuff. It just gets to the point.” You can hear it on the subtley Supremes-referencing intro of “Back To Black”. But her reach stretches further. While the girl-groups of the sixties to which she had become enthralled contained their vocals, Amy can break loose with Aretha-style vocal stylings on “Just Friends” or by turning the whole idea of drying out into a gospel spiritual on the stunning opener “Rehab”. “Love is a Losing Game” is pure classic modern songwriting: brief, to the point and drenched in emotion. Other highlights include the Nas inspired “Me and Mr Jones”, the beautiful “Wake Up Alone”, “I’m No Good”, the personal epiphany that you can behave just as badly as all those guys that have messed you around and stamped all over you, and the bluesy smooch of the title track, “Back To Black”.
For Amy Winehouse, music is not just a defence mechanism. It is her lifeline. In the two years since Frank caused such a ruckus by presenting this voluble and extraordinary human being centre stage, Amy thinks its only circumstances that have changed, not her. But you can see it in her increasingly creative body art, her slightly more aggressive eye make-up and the great swoop of black hair that cascades across her face and down her back. This time, Amy Winehouse has charted her progress from girlhood to womanhood. She is untangling her mess, finding her true spirit and learning to break loose from the demons that have followed her.