Donald Brackett: Back to Black: Amy Winehouse’s Only Masterpiece (Hal Leonard)

I just wanted her to sing, and, you know, be OK.

Amy Winehouse died in front of our eyes. We watched as she got thinner and thinner and had bruises and bloody feet. We saw the track marks and the mascara streaming down her face. We couldn’t help it. She was on the cover of every single magazine in every single aisle. It was morbid and horrifying. Just like the tragic figures of St. Britney of the Shaven Head, and the crucified Anna Nicole Smith, Winehouse became yet another martyr to our prying, invasive eyes. Then she died, and we were left with her music and memory and a sick taste in our mouths.

Donald Brackett’s Back to Black: Amy Winehouse’s Only Masterpiece is an excellent palate cleanser after that overexposure to one of music’s most amazing talents. As a fan, I didn’t want to hear about her broken heart or fights or addictions. That’s personal and should be private. I didn’t want to be exposed to her pain; I just wanted her to sing, and, you know, be OK. I got one of those wishes.

If you want to read about the music, the phrasing, influences, band, vocal decisions, and videos of Winehouse, read this book. But if you want to swim around in the utter neglect and foulness that followed her around for her short life, don’t; it’s not for you. | Melissa Cynova

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