I’m ill at ease with my previous blog. Apart from its cheap ego-centrism – how dare I call into question her realness when all around are saying Amy Winehouse was absolutely (and possibly uniquely) the real deal? An apology may yet be in order. But I do cling with a little confidence to the notion that I can legitimately make some argument here a) because I have to my knowledge no beef with the woman (not even for her later, unappealing habit of pooping on her fans) b) because there were years in my life when music was The Most Important Thing Bar None and c) I could, in the words of another icon of The Smoke, be wrong.
So setting aside the ripeness of the moment – which I fully understand may be difficult for the majority – I think the process of appreciation for any real artist is such a rich and rewarding and on times such an enlightening thing that I ask you to persevere right on past my gaucheness. To, ideally, a place where I can ask whether that instrument of hers was that of a truly great jazz/soul singer?
Sure it was magnificently easy; there was something of the sublime there, in the cadence of the thing. It was utterly in tune with a smoky, druggy London; out on the town with it, swigging bourbon and creasing into cleavage-wobbling laughter. And most of that appeals to the wannabe metropolitan in most of us – happy or sad. What I’m not sure about is how moving any of this carousing was.
It may be a mistake to entirely associate greatness with the ability to truly ‘move’. Pop can be great/a horn section can be great; what does that tell us about commonalities between great human noises? Naff all. The matter may then be complex but the issue at hand is this; whether or not Amy Winehouse went past music into the colours of the heart. Many would answer an emphatic YES to that one.
Me, I wouldn’t. So I’m going to have to listen to ‘Back to Black’ again, ‘properly’. Check out whether these were good songs or ordinary songs. Whether there’s anything being said as well as whether that voice was really special. I’m looking forward to that.