Midnight Album Feature: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black


Greetings. I’m DJ Michele. Every Friday at 9pm I host a show called Nite Life on KEXP. I choose danceable sets of new and old music for 3 hours. Then at 12 o’clock I do the Midnight Album Feature where I bring you tracks and stories on one of the world’s finest records.

This Friday’s Midnight Album Feature will spotlight Amy Winehouse‘s second album, Back in Black. Released in England in 2006, we got this baby in 2007. When you first hear it, it sounds very 1950’s, like a vintage album you’ve heard before. But listen close and she’s mixing 1950’s doo wop sounds with hip hop, blues and R&B. And the lyrics are like nothing else. For example in the song “You Know I’m No Good”…

Meet you downstairs in the bar and heard
Your rolled up sleeves and your skull t-shirt
You say what did you do with him today?
And sniff me out like I was Tanqueray

Cause you’re my fella, my guy
Hand me your stella and fly
By the time I’m out the door
You’re tear men down like Roger Moore

Amy furnishes her scenes of love’s despair with up-to-date images of sexy guys in skull t-shirts and bottles of Stella. She is edgy and sexy yet very vulnerable. So much so that these songs are strong.

She’s gonna need that strength. I feel terribly sorry for any young woman like Amy Winehouse who is being recorded on film in her 20’s. I mean, would you like YOUR 20’s to have been videotaped by paparazzi?? I wouldn’t. Fame isn’t always a blessing.

In her songs, Amy seems to be calling out questions to a higher power. A higher power who understands the gutter side of life. As a single woman who stays decidedly on the honorable side of romance, I understand Amy’s frustration with lovers who are misleading. (You know it, sister.) On the song “Me and Mr. Jones” the primo part is when the backup singers repeat Amy’s super sassy phrases. (The backup singer parts are in parentheses.)

What kind of fuckery is this?
You made me miss the Slick Rick gig (oh Slick Rick)
You thought I didn’t love you when I did (when I did)
Can’t believe you played me out like that (Ahhh)
What kind of fuckery are we?
Nowadays you don’t mean dick to me (dick to me)
I might let you make it up to me (make it up)
Who’s playing Saturday?

photo from MySpace

The last song I’ll play on the Midnight Album Feature this week will be Amy Winehouse’s hit “Rehab.” Amy Winehouse is so gutsy and real. Who else would sing a song about rehab over grooves of whiskey-soaked R&B? I know Amy’s having a rough time now, but there is no doubt she is a musical genius. Keep it real, Amy.

Join DJ Michele Myers every Friday night at 9pm for Nite Life on KEXP.

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