July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse: A Perspective

Amy Winehouse

Yesterday I wrote an article for my local Patch about Amy Winehouse. When I informed my counterpart of this, his reaction went a little something like, "Really? Amy Winehouse?". I could sense the dissatisfaction. I assured him that it was only for Patch because I'm less limited when it comes to writing there versus here. I decided it was unlikely that any other staff writer would write about it, so I wrote a post. Unfortunately, it's taking forever to be approved, so I have a feeling I may have been wrong about that, but we will see. I thought about just leaving it on Patch, but I feel strongly about her passing so I feel that posting it here could really no harm.

The one thing I have to say about this whole thing, is that just because I am writing about Amy Winehouse, does NOT mean that I am not thinking about what happened this past Friday in Norway along with the three other shootings that took place across the country this weekend in Florida, Texas, & Seattle. It is hard to believe that you cannot mourn the death without getting flack for not being outwardly emotional with other events that take place. At the end of the day, tragedy took place in more than one location-some far worse than others, but still all worth the notice. The difference between said events and the loss of a musician is that there is that personal connection with it. A shooting crime doesn't nurse your emotions or give you new music to expand your horizon-a musician does. It's worthy to shine a light on all subjects here, but I choose to talk about Ms. Winehouse's death. Below is what I wrote for patch;

Today the word got around (as fast as ever, thanks to social networking) that we lost yet another talented musician at the young age of twenty seven. The news may have not been a shock to those who were well aware of her struggles with drugs and alcohol, but whenever we lose a great voice in the industry, we must take the time to reflect on the songs that will be in rotation long after their passing and appreciate what they've contributed. WXRT was able to console with words and songs of rememberance. I was glad I was tuned into the radio when the news broke, and not just the radio, but the best station ever.
Amy Winehouse was someone that had as much talent as she did struggles. I truly believe to be an exceptional artist, you have to be in touch with the "other" side. You have to have this ability to truly escape yourself and experience something outside of your own mind, body, and spirit-you have to almost be in this "scary" place. The more an artist is able to do that, the better their music will transcend. If an artist is unable to do that in a conscious, sober state of mind, they will find other means of escapism, i.e. drugs and alcohol-and copious amounts of them at that.
The list of artists that we've lost at twenty seven seems to get increasingly longer as we seem to find those exceptional talents sifted throughout different generations. If you've been sorting through those tweets or listening to the radio frequencies, I'm sure those names are being thrown in your face all over again. If you're unaware, you can find the entire list [here]. There is definitely an allure when it comes to young musicians dying. When performers die, it has such a remarkable impact because they did just that-they performed. They entertained you when your mind could not entertain itself. These performers kept you from thinking your own thoughts and gave you something else to bat around for awhile. These singers gave you lyrics to dwell on when you couldn't sort out what was going on inside of you. I can't help but feeling like these people that died seemed to be perfect candidates for their type of death. When people view you as being far greater than you could ever possibly view yourself, that can have some heavy downfalls. Kurt Cobain is truly the best example of this. If you want to read a bit more about Cobain and the parallels that are made with his life, check out 'Eating The Dinosaur' by Chuck Klosterman.
I cannot call myself a huge Amy Winehouse fan. I have her albums, but can't say that are were heavy rotation--until three days ago when I put them back on my iPod. I hear a couple songs from 'Back To Black'  on XRT during the week and thought, "I need to get her albums back on my pod." Cue to me singing along to Winehouse during this past week in my car, thinking about bringing the 'Beehive' back. I heard of Amy's downfall in the previous months via WXRT; her extensive stint in rehab only return to her first show of the tour completely trashed and incoherent; unable to perform her songs, like so many Winehouse fans come to expect, I'd assume. This is terribly sad to me. A phenomenal talent that was surely wasted when, well, she was getting wasted. What's the story here? A singer with a series of downfalls, finally lands herself in rehab after all the "no, no no's", attempts to rebuild her career, schedules a tour, and then...cancels it because of an inability to perform after weeks of being in "good health"? Hm.
There are a few reasons why I feel so saddened by this passing. First off, she was too young and too talented to simply just stop living. She had such an old soul, she was truly a unique being, and a wonderous vibe exuded when she did what she did best. Winehouse had so many different elements of music within her work and many people could find something they loved in her songs. I also can't help but feel hurt in the sense that so many people have immeasurable talent that will never be discovered or shared. So many others would love to hold the position that Amy Winehouse held; performing, recording, and collaborating, without the stints of heavy drug use. There's people who would have utilized the opportunity differently, but I cannot help but feel that they would not have been as great as she was. Who knows, maybe. Maybe it was one of those things where when she was great she was great and when she was bad, she was just bloody awful. 
[This] is another good article to take a peek at; the musicians reactions upon hearing of her death. I think Kelly Clarkson had some really good stuff to say about her and I'm glad that the musicians are calling out those who are bringing her down in a public sense, blasting twitter with "How are you guys not surprised? #AmyWinehouse". Really? Her death is hard-hitting and not only to the people who sit at home and play her records, but to the people who made and shared the music with her. While it may seem like it fits into the life of a musician who has a hankering for heroin and a thirst for tanqueray, but you cannot say that you are surprised. A twenty seven year old woman is dead. That is, and always will be, a surprise.
.    .    .

Since then, her mother has spoken out about how" it was only a matter of time."
It seems my adoration for her songs has only grown increasingly ever since her passing. I feel that will be the case with many.


Ms. Winehouse
& to those who lost their lives in [Norway] this past Friday


Brookie Wooks said...


Laura J. said...

You know, at work today I heard a country song, and it wasn't really my style of music but it had a repeating lyric about how it's sad that when you are dead, people finally take the time to listen. This came to mind when reading your post. To be fair I wasn't really a fan or anti-fan of her's... she was just a name I was familiar with.... and it's sad that now that she's out of this world, people who wouldn't necessarily have stopped to give her music a real good listen are now putting in a little extra effort to see what she was all about. This goes for every artist who passes, I think. Death gives fame and interest a nudge that Life often doesn't. And I know that I myself will look more up on her life and music, when I had never cared to before.