Amy Winehouse “Back to Black”

By Gus Bode

Amy Winehouse “Back to Black”

Released: March 13, 2007

Republic Records


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If honesty is the best policy, then Amy Winehouse should be a diplomat.

On “Back to Black,” Winehouse leaves no thought to the imagination through songs laden with profanity and sheer sincerity.

The well known “Rehab” is perhaps one of Winehouse’s strongest tracks. With lyrics like “Didn’t get a lot in class/But I know it didn’t come in a shot glass,” she bucks the system that thinks it knows how she should live her life. With saxophones, bells and fanfare trumpets, it’s Winehouse’s declaration of independence.

“Back to Black” is a soulful adventure down the road of rock relationships, where Winehouse laments of doing her man no good by cheating on him.

In “Me and Mr. Jones” she actually sings the line “What kind of f-ckery is this?/You made me miss the Slick Rick gig.” It’s a hilarious line in a song that sounds like it belongs in the era of Gladys Knight and the Pips, complete with background singers and a swaying beat that anyone could slow dance to.


The soft orchestra of the title track “Back to Black” is a grand affair. It’s a gorgeous track that sounds like Ennio Morricone produced the instrumentation to run alongside her voice. Winehouse’s vocals woefully bounce against the strings.

Songs like “Love is a Losing Game,” “Wake Up Alone” and “Just Friends” all follow in the same soulful sound that carries throughout most of the album, while songs like “He Can Only Hold Her” incorporate some hip-hop to change things up.

Winehouse doesn’t dance around topics. The album starts with her obsession with drinking and it ends with her love of marijuana in “Addicted.” She makes this album sound like her attempt to destroy any rumors about herself, and that kind of honesty makes this and every track on “Back to Black” genuine.

Her language may not be clean, but this album is. It’s well produced and it sounds amazing from beginning to end. There isn’t a wasted moment.

Winehouse is the future of female vocalists. She’s brash singer with a distinctive and lovely voice with lyrics that pull no punches.

Regardless of the media’s opinion of Winehouse, “Back to Black” is a great record.