Back in fall of 2009 my co-workers were laughing at this website that was speculating when Amy Winehouse would die. It shocked me because it was so cruel and I also wasn’t aware of her issues, I’m not into celebrity news like that. I just knew she could sing and had an interesting look. The cruel stuff made me want to check out more about her though. I’m very glad that I did because the song I knew her for at the time “Back to Black” wasn’t really my cup of tea. I started with her first album, Frank and it quickly became one of my favorite albums immediately.
This album remains in my rotation. The production was great, Salaam Remi did a masterful job of blending Classic Jazz, Soul, and Hip Hop elements to craft the sound for the album. I’m relatively certain some of the songs on this album would not be popular or even released in today’s hypersensitive environment. Lucky for me, this album came out in 2003 before social media turned society into the perpetually outraged masses we see now.
“I forgotten all of young love’s joy, (I) feel like a lady and you’re my ladyboy”Stronger Than Me – Amy Winehouse
You can’t call a guy a ladyboy for being sensitive and not living up to the stereotypical gender roles these days. She’d be canceled by hardcore feminists, the LGBTQ+ community, and the disingenuous people that want to pretend like they’re down for all causes because it’s trendy…for just these two bars. The honesty and true feelings of people are being muffled, likely to the detriment of society. Music is supposed to speak the heart of the performer and touch the heart of the listener. This album did that for me.
On July 23, 2011 when it was reported that she passed away, I immediately thought of that Amy Winehouse countdown. Though it had been several years since her last album, I felt like we lost a legendary singer. I’ve had friendly disagreements about my preference for Amy’s catalog over Whitney Houston’s. That’s almost blasphemous as a Black dude, but as I type this the song Brother is playing reminding me of why I stood up for her catalog in the first place.