Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse: Back in Black

There are plenty of pictures of Amy Winehouse you can find on a Google image search that show her at her worst: cocaine hanging out of her nose, her eyes rolling up into her head, in various stages of dishevelment, inebriation and worse. Amy became a joke. A sick and sad joke. Clearly, the woman had demons. She also was surrounded by enablers and fools. Family members, boyfriends (and a husband), and toxic hangers-on. Her death yesterday at 27 years-old was probably inevitable, but that doesn't strip the story of the inherent sadness and tragedy. It would be one thing if Amy was a no-talent pop star. But she wasn't. She was immensely talented. Her brilliant Back to Black album is both a personal watershed work and an important piece of soul-pop. Without her, we would never have seen the likes of Duffy or Adele and others. It is, I suppose, difficult to separate the artist from the woman, her artistry from her public personae. I sincerely hope that she will be remembered not as fodder for the tabloids nor just for one song (Rehab), but for her talent and a promise never to be fulfilled. Time may help. Bottom line: her death is a terrible waste. Her talent will be missed. Ironically, she and I shared our birthday. Her death, for the moment, is, according to the London police, "unexplained."

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