Rest in Rhythm, Winehouse

By Alixandra Lycette Weintraub

“I’ll battle till this bitter finale just me, my dignity & this guitar case.” –Amy Winehouse

Countless people knew Amy Jade Winehouse as the publicly intoxicated, rehab ridden, modern day jazz musician from London; but to her millions of fans, she was a talented, unique and intriguing woman who changed music forever.  On Saturday, the five-time Grammy Award winning musician joined ‘Club 27’ – a group of famous musicians, each of which died at age 27, including Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.

Amy Winehouse - Source: Huffington Post

The world stood by in fascination of Winehouse and her bold lyrics, which mostly spoke of her life experience. “I cheated myself like I knew I would,” was only one of the many poignant messages that gave listeners an honest glimpse into Amy.  If this was the decade in which celebrities bared all – then Winehouse was certainly a testament to that movement, spilling gin-soaked tales of heartbreak, drugs and depression directly in the limelight.  Winehouse’s hit, You Know I’m No Good, had our heroine crying on the kitchen floor, enduring tedious sex and getting caught by a lover with telltale carpet burns and that’s just in the space of three minutes.

As any great lyricist knows, the most captivating music comes from a place of honesty, and so often, that includes heartache and pain.  Winehouse confronted her problems frankly and unabashedly through her lyrics, including eating disorders, drug addictions, relationship issues and her parents’ divorce.  It was solely during the recording of her album that her true ambiance dominated her music; combining misdemeanor with melody, heartache with sound and scandal with soul; all through it all, she became the woman who single-handedly revitalized British music.

Amy Winehouse - Source: Huge Wallpaper

Admittedly stuck in the fifties, Winehouse stayed true to her sound but it wasn’t long before she got recognition for something else - something a little more easily mocked; her effortless style.  In 2007, the infamous and legendary designer, Karl Lagerfeld, gave a tribute to Winehouse during a Chanel presentation stating “She’s not only a muse; she’s a genius.” Shortly thereafter, fans began wearing huge hair, tons of makeup and a trend even broke out around Halloween time.  She was an old soul coming back to leave her mark.

Amy Winehouse - Source: The Fash Pack

While Winehouse’s death wasn’t completely unexpected, she certainly kept the world on its toes with outlandish performances, true-to-life music and outstanding appearance.  Many will argue that Amy’s second album Back to Black, which brought her to the global stage, is a coffee-table album – shamelessly retro, lacking in musical innovation.  Its strengths were never about tearing down sonic boundaries.  This was just a verbalization of an inner pain to rival that of her idols – from Billie Holliday to Sam Cooke – sang with an authentic, soulful voice that had the rivalry of a collapsing relationship etched across it.

Put simply, the only thing Back to Black had in common with a coffee table was an edge.  Sadly, this edge was Winehouse’s downfall. In a tragic case of life imitating art, she ended up living out the worst aspects of Back to Black’s subject matter, stumbling around shows intoxicated and breaking up and reconciling with her long time beau, Blake Fielder-Civil.  Many questioned if she would ever pull off such a dazzling high wire dance again – to come back from black, as it were – seemed a sadly distant hope.

Amy Winehouse - Source: Art Slope

In despair, the late singer sang, “he walks away, the sun goes down, he takes the day, but I’m gone. And in your way in this blue shade, my tears dry on their own.”  As numerous fans, friends and family members mourn the loss of this soulful singer, we are obliged that she has left behind remarkable music, huge hair and an excessive amount of eyeliner to remember her by.  And whether it was drugs, depression or love that killed her, apparently you can die of a broken heart.

 

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