There has only been one time in my life where I have acted like a total hipster – and that was due to Amy Winehouse. How many people out there actually listened and enjoyed Amy Winehouse’s music before she came out with ‘Rehab’? Not that many. I have a crystal clear memory of sitting in my school’s library when I was about 15 and I had her debut album Frank playing on my iPod:
Someone: Who you listening to?
Me: Amy Winehouse
I enjoyed the fact that I was listening to this artist who I was loving and no one else in my peer group knew who she was. A year later, Back to Black came out. I remember listening to ‘Rehab’ for the first time on Myspace and really not liking the new direction she was taking. It grew on me, but I felt cheated. Then the same people who had no idea who she was were making various “no, no, no” jokes involving one another’s mums and sisters. I was angry in that way a teenager is when everyone starts muscling in on their discovery.
I got over it by the time I finished the second track of Back to Black. I mean sure, she did a complete change in direction, but ‘You Know I’m No Good’ runs circles around everything on her first album. By the end of my first playthrough I was hooked. ‘You Know I’m No Good’, ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ and ‘Back To Black’ formed a big part of my personal soundtrack between Halloween 2006 and Easter 2007.
It was one of the earliest times I can remember getting really into how good the production of a song was. My love of Bjork had taken hold and I was starting to notice of how things worked on a very basic level. So Mark Ronson and his trumpets just fascinated me. Then again, the world was fascinated by him back then.
Listening to both Frank and Back to Black I have to say that I still prefer her first album. I like my Amy Winehouse witty, brassy and moreorless happy compared to the tragedy that just unfurled after Back to Black.