Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why we heart Amy

Forget the drugs, the booze, the husband in prison, the parents, the parents-in-law and the rest of the vultures who have followed the Amy Winehouse circus around like a bad smell for the last 18 months or so. Forget the …

Tue, Feb 12, 2008, 10:58

   
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Forget the drugs, the booze, the husband in prison, the parents, the parents-in-law and the rest of the vultures who have followed the Amy Winehouse circus around like a bad smell for the last 18 months or so.

Forget the tabloid focus on her woes and how this coverage has repositioned Winehouse as Pete Doherty with a beehive.

Forget the pictures you’ve seen or the grainy camera-phone video footage you’ve watched (and that’s what you do in 2008 when a celebrity slips off the wagon and the footage is there at the click of a mouse) of a troubled young woman falling to pieces in the early hours of the morning.

Remember when it was just about the music. Remember the first time you heard “Rehab” or the first time you heard “Back to Black”. Can you do that?

This performance, all five minutes or so of it, is a reminder of better times. There’s just the singer and her band, tearing it up for the TV cameras. It’s spirited, cool, cheeky and sublime. Winehouse sings two fantastic songs and it’s a throwback to a time before crack pipes and boozy 4am breakdowns began to dominate the Winehouse agenda.

It reminds you just how special “Back to Black” sounded on its release. Split right down the middle with heartbreakers and soul shakers, “Back to Black” was as confessional, troubled, humorous and honest as songs get about a woman falling in and out of love with men, drink and drugs. It was rousing and brave, an album which was bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

Watch the performance again and take it all in. Sure, she’s began to live out her best lines – that sneer of defiance which once defined “Rehab” seems sad and sorry these days now that other events have taken over – but the soul is still there. Like all the best soul singers, Winehouse is copping just how much hurt and pain and raw emotion must go into those songs to make them more than just three minute wonders. Given how much she’s experienced in the last 18 months, her next record could be fascinating.

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