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The Word Magazine - Best & Worst of 2000s


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#1 Lainey

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 11:01 PM

Please bear with me for the occasional typing and spelling error. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Britain's finest (last 5 years running) music magazine THE WORD!.Their January issue had, inevitably the best and worst of the 2000s, with Amy being one of the best. So, in the spirit of holiday cheer and for lack of a scanner, i'm going to re-type to the best of my abilities. Happy New Year and all that

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People of the Decade: Amy Winehouse
By Jude Rogers

Part One:

Tragic, Doomed, Tormented, Shamed. And underneath the squalid headline, our most authentic diva in decades,

In 2003, a teenage girl educated at two stage schools - the Sylvia Young in Camden and the Brit School in Croydon - made her first album. Her fellow shiny-haired alumni, including Billie Piper and Matt from Busted, churned out sparkly pop that wasn't her style. she sang about Fuck Me Pumps, ranted at weedy lovers ("I'm not gonna meet your mother any time/ I just wanna grip your body over mine") and admitted infidelity without apology ("Why You So Upset? Baby you weren't there/ and I was thinking bout you when I came"). Delivering these lyrics in an extraordinary soul voice - big and brutal when it need to be, soft and stirring when it didn't - songs like Stronger Than Me and I Heard Love is Blind made it clear that Amy Winehouse had lived quite a life already. Into her twenties, she would continue to do so, but little did we know quite how far she would go.

Six years since the aptly titled Frank, it is hard to remember the gifted young Londoner that preceded the tattooed cartoon character smuggling drugs in her beehive, popping out for 4am lollipops under the flash of paparazzi bulbs and falling out of marriages and dresses like a skew-wiff Olive Oyl.

Edited by Lainey, 28 December 2009 - 11:45 PM.

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#2 Lainey

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 11:15 PM

Part Two

It's easy to forget how much amy Winehouse changed pop music. Frank gave the dinner party soul of Joss Stone and Macy Gracy a dirty-minded spin, but also set alight the idea that modern women could be brazen storytellers instead of autotuned automatons. Winning Ivor Novello, Brit and Mercury nominations, it also paved the way for artists like Lily Allen and Kate Nash as it grew in stature.

But it was Winehouse's second album 'Back to Black', that had a guargantuan affect. Released in October 2006, and famously written about the fallout from her relationship from Fielder-Civil, it tread on similar musical terrain - here was Amy having her infidelities sniffed out 'like I was Tanqueray' and berating the ex who 'left no time to regret/ kept his dick wet'. But it also made retro gloriously new. Recharging the tender heartbeats of Motown and '60s Girl Groups, Back to Black coupled these with a worldview that was open-hearted yet harrowing, and by the following summer - by which time Fielder-Civil had returned, giving the album a third side - it had affected pop profoundly. It rubber-stamped the career of producer Mark Ronson, pushed groups like Girls Aloud toward classic sounds and opened doors for Duffy, Adele and Pixie Lott - old-fashioned singers who could never be as striking as the woman who came before them.

Winehouse stood apart because she was a loose cannon; the opposite of a media-trained, pliable starlet. As she didn't know how to stop, or when to shut up ("I always find something to fuck myself up with", she told the American Press before her first New York gig), she became the perfect star for the reality TV generation, and Back to Black the soundtrack to a warts-and-all round-the-clock show, played out on the streets of Camden. Its maker morphed into a strange combination of Britain's Britney and Billie Holliday on overdrive, hounded and harried by celebrity magazines, freesheets and gossip websites, all trying to capture and quicken her spectacular implosions in real time - a new phenomenon for this all-seeing, all-knowing decade, which placed her at its centre.

Edited by Lainey, 28 December 2009 - 11:39 PM.

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#3 Lainey

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 11:37 PM

Part Three:

But just as viewers expected subsequent series of Big Brother to bring them bigger narratives, headlines seemed to demand the 'arc' of her story also reach its inevitable, tragic conclusion. At least we're given some hope as the decade ends that the nastier reality shows are biting the dust and the skinny girl in the ballet pumps is still with us.

And as a third Winehouse album glints on the horizon, it is wise to recall the person who told The Word in 2005 that "if I couldn't express a song and sing it, I'd be fucked". The word 'Diva' is much abused, but Winehouse was our first genuine popstar in decades, an artist whose unrefined life could not be separated from her coruscating art. Her bruising songs set her apart from media-managed deities like Kylie Minogue and Madonna, while her huge, mournful vocals say much more about love and pain than Whitney and Mariah's glassy melisma.

Bruised, battered and desparate for a fag she may be, but Amy is our 21st Century Piaf: flawed yet fabulous, tormented yet towering. Think of her this way and hope that the still remarkably young woman under the eyeliner thinks that way too.

Edited by Lainey, 28 December 2009 - 11:40 PM.

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#4 Alan48

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 11:41 PM

Beautiful! Too many great quotes to quote! Thanks so much, Lainey!

#5 Lainey

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 11:43 PM

^ Most welcome! As I thought it was such a good article, I felt compelled to share.
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#6 Iulian

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 08:24 AM

Thanks for this. Indeed, a very beautiful little story.

#7 PabloD

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:11 PM

"while her huge, mournful vocals say much more about love and pain than Whitney and Mariah's glassy melisma."

Everything about the article is so right. And pretty beautifully written.

Thanks a lot Lainey!
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#8 sarahbol

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 02:53 PM

Lainey, you rock.
Thanks for typing it all out.

Bruised, battered and desparate for a fag she may be, but Amy is our 21st Century Piaf: flawed yet fabulous, tormented yet towering. Think of her this way and hope that the still remarkably young woman under the eyeliner thinks that way too.

Beautiful.


PS: Do you mind if I use it in my signature?

Edited by sarahbol, 29 December 2009 - 07:12 PM.

And I go back to... I go back to us.


Bruised, battered and desparate for a fag she may be, but Amy is our 21st Century Piaf: flawed yet fabulous, tormented yet towering. Think of her this way and hope that the still remarkably young woman under the eyeliner thinks that way too. - Jude Rogers, The Word




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