I know it sucks bad enough that it’s Monday, and I also know we owe you the final installment of “To Gizzy’s house,” (which I promise is in the works, and it’s probably the best part yet), but something happened this weekend that I need to address.
One Ms. Amy Winehouse.
If you’re sick of hearing about it, or you’re a hater, please move on.
When I heard the news, I had just arrived to lunch with Boots, and he held out his phone and said, “So, I’m guessing you already heard this?”
AMY WINEHOUSE FOUND DEAD
“No. Is that legit?” I asked.
“Yeah, it looks like it,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the one to tell you.”
Tears welled up in my eyes.
“Don’t cry, Lucky!”
Yeah, maybe I’m freakin’ crazy, but I’m also crazy for Amy Winehouse.
I remember hearing rehab on the radio many summers ago. And I didn’t think it was a literal story about her record label telling her she needed help, I thought it was a satire poking fun of Britney and Lindsey.
Either way, I loved her sound. Her voice, raspy, yet full of soul. It was everything I loved about Lauryn Hill (the bounce), what I loved about Alanis (the sass), and what I loved about John Mayer (the blues). She was IT.
So I bought Back to Black and, for the first time, I fell in love with an album.
Yeah, it sounds fucked up. But every. single. song was better than the next. She spoke the words I felt during a breakup. I sang them at the top of my lungs every time I got in my car.
But then, an issue of Rolling Stone magazine hit the stands with Amy on the cover: The Diva & Her Demons.
I snatched it up as fast as I could and read it hungrily…and then, I cried.
The article spelled out her demons—cutting, drinking, smoking weed and crack. Not to mention her dependency on her then-fiance, Blake.
I was crushed. She really did need rehab. And all those drug references in Back to Black were true—I just hadn’t known what they meant. I know, I’m really naive, and a little attached. When I find out successful people I look up to do drugs, I get upset. I’ve never done any drugs (not even weed) so that’s why I’m in the dark about them.
Mainly, I just loved Back to Black so much, I didn’t want her to die before I saw her in concert, or before she would release another album.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Once Back to Black ran its course in my car, I purchased an album she released earlier—in 2003, Frank. It’s a more mellow, more Jazzy, Winehouse…yet, still an amazing body of sound.
I picked up a few other songs here and there, an acoustic version of “Best Friend,” and her cover of “Valerie,” to which I loved so much I wrote a short story based on it for my English class in college.
I loved her style and I wanted as much as I could get. She had truly changed the music game, for me, anyway.
When she was nominated for six Grammys, I pulled for her (and boy was I pissed when her visa wasn’t approved). However, she won five and she truly looked happy. And her performance was great.
In the last few weeks, I had pulled out my copy of Back to Black, listening to it, letting it bring me back to that summer. The Rolling Stone article is framed in my apartment and I was thinking about it the other day—how it was a bit of a loss of innocence for me. When really, artists struggle constantly, and deal with it in different ways. For the first time in my pop music fandom, I had admired a singer who wasn’t prepackaged and perfect. She loved crack.
But she was a genius in the studio.
And that is how I hope she is remembered. Okay, so she didn’t go to rehab. Would we have loved the same Amy if she would have? I doubt it.
I’m never really good in moments like these, but wherever she is, I hope she finally finds peace.