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Back to Black

by Amy Winehouse

Released October 27, 2006 via Island Records

Reviewed October 21, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Back To Black (68%), Tears Dry On Their Own (45%), You Know I’m No Good (40%)

In retrospect, Back to Black is a profoundly beautiful and tragic album, and is the undisputed icon of Amy Winehouse’s musical career. The album’s songwriting amounted to a cleverly written tell-all, that gave an immense image of her lifetime in its most consequential chapters––Amy poured herself into every word. Musically, the album features a bold institution of pop, soul, and R&B with intertwining influences of jazz, hip-hop, and reggae at play. With Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson at the helm of production, Amy’s colorful storytelling is further illuminated by such adventurous and robust melodies. It all comes together - Amy’s golden voice, sharp wit, and broken heart combine to be intensely powerful to this day. In the end, we know Amy would soon demise, and it makes Back to Black all the more timeless given what it documents. It stands 15 years later as a timeless tribute to the cycles of living in death. – DeVán (10/10)

As the follow-up to her debut album Frank, Back To Black builds on some of Amy Winehouse’s best qualities and makes noticeable improvements from a production standpoint. It’s less jazzy than her first, more influenced by the sounds of girl groups from the 60s that fit better with her distinct voice. Winehouse’s brutally honest lyrics about heartbreak, cheating, and addiction are devastating, but from a lyrical standpoint, sets her apart from the competition. Back To Black is a modern touch on the best soul music of decades past, and arguably the greatest pop-soul album ever made. More importantly, it showed us how special Winehouse was as a performer and lyricist, cementing her place in music history, despite her tragic death. – Alan (9.3/10)

Amy Winehouse’s landmark album Back to Black is a perfect storm of talent, commitment and innovation. Her brassy voice, Mark Ronson’s commitment to keeping Winehouse clean of drugs or alcohol, and both Ronson’s and Salaam Remi’s reimagining of 60’s pop music for a 21st century audience solidify why this album succeeded from its release. Black to Black is a vulgar, and sometimes humorous story of heartbreak, addiction and the pure messiness of life. Winehouse offers funny jokes and asides like the ever so quotable “What kind of fuckery is this?” from Intro, to Me and Mr. Jones, or making comments about how weed did more for her than any dick could. This album is a cocktail of elements ultimately feeling more relatable as time passes on. The intense level of emotional honesty that this record possesses, once we look past how incredible her voice is, is where the genius lies. As time passes on this album ages like wine. Though the ending of this story is tragic, what sparked from Winehouse’s life is beautifully painful and timeless work. – Pablo (9/10)

Cam: 10/10 | DeVán: 10/10 | Victoria: 10/10 | Hadley: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10

Pablo: 9/10 | Daniel: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10


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