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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Back To Black

Amy Winehouse

2006

Buy At Rough Trade
Back To Black
Album Summary

Back to Black is the second and final studio album by English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse, released on 27 October 2006 by Island Records. Winehouse predominantly based the album on her tumultuous relationship with then-ex-boyfriend and future husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who temporarily left her to pursue his previous ex-girlfriend. Their short-lived separation spurred her to create an album that explores themes of guilt, grief, infidelity, heartbreak and trauma in a relationship. Influenced by the pop and soul music of 1960s girl groups, Winehouse collaborated with producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, along with Sharon Jones' band The Dap-Kings, to assist her on capturing the sounds from that time period while blending them with contemporary R&B and neo-soul music. Between 2005 and 2006, she recorded the album's songs with Remi at Instrumental Zoo Studios in Miami and then with Ronson and the Dap-Kings at Chung King Studios and Daptone Records in New York. Tom Elmhirst mixed the album at Metropolis Studios in London. Back to Black was acclaimed by music critics, who praised Winehouse's songwriting and emotive singing style as well as Remi and Ronson's production. The album spawned five singles: "Rehab", "You Know I'm No Good", "Back to Black", "Tears Dry on Their Own" and "Love Is a Losing Game". It has also been cited as being a key influence to the widespread popularity of British soul throughout the late 2000s, paving the musical landscape for artists such as Adele, Duffy, and Estelle. At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Back to Black won Best Pop Vocal Album and was also nominated for Album of the Year. At the same ceremony, Winehouse won four additional awards, tying her with five other artists as the second-most awarded female in a single ceremony. The album was also nominated at the 2007 Brit Awards for MasterCard British Album and was shortlisted for the 2007 Mercury Prize. Back to Black sold 3.58 million copies in the UK alone, becoming the UK's second best-selling album of the 21st century so far. The album has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. A deluxe edition of Back to Black was released in November 2007, containing a bonus disc of B-sides and live tracks. Winehouse's debut DVD I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London, released that same month, includes a live set recorded at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London and a 50-minute documentary detailing the singer's career over the previous four years. In 2020, Back to Black was ranked at number 33 on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".

Wikipedia

Rating

4.02

Votes

12023
Genres
Soul

Reviews

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

I can't help but like this. Especially the Mark Ronson produced tracks - they capture that Phil Spector & Motown vibe so well with just the right amount of modern punch, dynamics, and flair. She has an incredibly soulful voice and her more modern/almost conversational lyrics make the experience more thrilling and not just a revival record. I feel like this is done with absolute reverence for the past while not simply being a reenactment act - similar to the way say the White Stripes' influences are obvious yet they coalesce into something fresh and unique. You can tell this comes from a real place and it is of course a tragedy that she was consumed by her addictions.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

Ok straight up for me one of the best albums of its generation.. artistry at its best.. Ronson and Salam killed it in the production as well, knew exactly when to get out of the way of amy and when to support her vocals..

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

Cela faisait des semaines que je marchais dans un désert d'immondices musicales. Mes jambes étaient lourdes et mes semelles enduites de Minutemen. Alors que des remontées gastriques ne cessaient de rappeler à ma salive l'épouvantable goût des New York Dolls, j'aperçus soudain une oasis : il s'agissait de Back To Black. Je m'y précipitai. Son courant eut à mon contact un effet immédiat ; mes tâches de Sepultura disparaissaient à mesure que je les frottais sous une cascade de Rehab tandis que mes plaies goldfrappiennes cicatrisaient bientôt dans un bain de You Know I'm No Good. J'appliquai enfin quelques gouttes de Love Is A Losing Game sur mon kyste elvis-costellien qui se vida instantanément de son contenu. Une étape inoubliable au cours de cette éprouvante traversée.

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Tue Mar 30 2021
3

“Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse (2006) Always wondered what all the fuss was about. Winehouse’s vocals are interesting enough, a kind of metallic contralto, with little pitch and dynamic range, but adequate control. In terms of composition, there are many familiar jazz, R&B, (early) rock, and even swing structures here, but nothing truly innovative. Some tracks bring to the ear immediate associations with earlier music, especially “You Know I’m No Good”, evocative of the retro swing Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Katherine Whalen on “It Ain’t You” and “Blue Angel” (on the album “Hot” [1996]). Not entirely derivative, but clearly from the same mold. Winehouse’s vocal performance is a distant second to Whalen’s, however. Lyrics aren’t bad—sassiness on display. Not exactly virtue-forming, and attempting to evoke little sympathy, but entertaining enough, if the listener is willing to suspend charitable feelings. A good album and artist, but not great. 3/5

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Thu Jul 27 2023
2

I try to go into these records objectively, with an open mind. Some times I just can’t. I know Amy Winehouse is a hero of sorts, but the music…it doesn’t feel authentic. It feels like an attempt to resell a sound from time that’s been forgotten. Modernize it, throw the word “fuckery” in there for good measure. Voila! Manufactured nostalgia for people who weren’t alive to experience the time they’re supposed to be nostalgic for. I don’t know…I can’t get past that. She’s talented, but it just feels manufactured to me.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

"We only said goodbye with words I died a hundred times" (Back to Black) "All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we knew And this regret I got accustomed to" (Tears dry on their own) Tenía muchas ganas de que me saliese este disco porque SABÍA que tenía que estar en la lista y me gusta un montón.

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Thu May 13 2021
5

This album feels so classy. Every song fits into an overarching style and theme, yet stand out individually so as to never feel the same as the one before or after. A really neat album that could be at home on vinyl or the crappy headphones provided with your handset (I'm so sorry Amy).

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Tue Jan 25 2022
4

Great album, great voice. Terrible loss at such a young age. She even recognised her own problems in the track 'Rehab', but she obviously had too many demons. Well worth listening to.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
5

Por ahí leí el otro día que este disco es el más vendido en vinil, digamos del 2010 para acá, desde el renacimiento del formato. Lo escucho ahora y suena a un clásico. Cuando salió resaltaba mucho del resto, un throwback, un ejercicio de nostalgia, no tan diferente si lo piensan, de The White Stripes o cosas por el estilo. Esto último no es ninguna crítica negativa. Pero la diferencia con otros ejercicios revivaleros de soul aquí el talento y la tragedia personal resltan. Pero me quedo con el talento y la voz, ¿gran voz, no? Parte de la educación sentimental de muchos, supongo. Fue parte de la mía. Back to black, la canción, is some heavy shit. Se siente real. Lloré mucho con esa rola, no por lo que trata, sino por la forma en que canta Back to black, verga. Me mata eso. Qué ganas de irse a la mierda dan a veces. ¿Solo yo? Amy me comprende.

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Thu May 13 2021
5

Love this album; it really is one in a million. Full of soul, full of energy, full of life.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

A soulful, beautifully written, beautifully produced record. Definitely bittersweet in retrospect but Amy Winehouse has a beautiful voice and the songs to back it up. Rehab was the big single but Back to Black is absolutely the show-stopper here. All great writing and music, every track.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

She came on the scene with an explosive presence. She is indicative of Phil Spector's sound and Ronnie Spector's voice. There's definitely a bewitching quality to her vocals. This is especially present in "You Know I'm No Good." She's one of those artists that could sing the phone book and make it work. "What kind of fuckery is this?" is a question for the ages, and it sounds delightful coming from Winehouse. She sings from the heart as well. No song is a throw-away. Even the minor songs like Just Friends hit that mark of emotion she's going for. The beats are also so catchy on this album. Back to Black is practically iconic now. If Winehouse, Gaga, and Adele could have gotten together...Anyway, this album is a modern masterpiece.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
2

The compositions and arrangements can be pretty nice, albeit it's all a rather arch act of graverobbing. 'You Know I'm No Good' and 'Back To Black' are fine songs, despite their ubiquity in the 2000s. However, Al Jolson himself would blush (one would guess) at those fucking vocals. What was going on?! 'Rehab' is a terrible piece of music.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Songs I liked Rehab You know i'm no good Tears dry on their own He can only hold her

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Anything I heard between ages 16-24 probably has an advantage over the others due to subconscious bias - this album included. With that caveat, I think this album is a stunner. It also is immortalized by her untimely death, and makes the songs that much more potent. And what a voice! Really love the instrumentation on the album too.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

I freely admit that I've been living under a rock since about 1995. I was of course aware of Amy Winehouse and felt the grief of her fans when she died but I'd never listened to her music. (OK, maybe I saw them do Rehab on Glee...) I didn't know what to expect but it sure wasn't this. Musically, it's a joy to hear such a clear echo of the girl groups and soul singers of the 1960s --- I especially like the sample of Ain't No Mountain High Enough in Tears Dry on Their Own. The music sounds completely modern and nicely retro. Lyrically, it's sometimes hilarious (what kind of fuckery is this?) but mostly it's depressing as hell. I hear a woman trying desperately to numb her pain while trying to sound devil-may-care. And it is obviously so much worse considering how her short life ended. I can't imagine a bleaker sentiment than Love is a Losing Game. One or two songs are misses for me but overall I really like this album. I'm angry that we lost such a talent so early and I hope that she is resting in peace.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

More like Amy Whine-house, right? Probably should have gone to rehab.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

3 - Back to Black (2006) - 9/10 Amy Winehouse Wednesday 1st December 1. Rehab - 9/10 ⭐️ 2. You Know I’m No Good - 9/10 ⭐️ 3. Me & Mr Jones - 8.5/10 4. Just Friends - 8.5/10 5. Back to Black - 9.5/10 ⭐️ 6. Love Is a Losing Game - 8.5/10 7. Tears Dry on their Own - 9.5/10 ⭐️ 8. Wake Up Alone - 8/10 9. Some Unholy War - 8/10 10. He Can Only Hold Her - 8/10 11. Addicted - 7.5/10

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Fri Feb 24 2023
5

Absolutely beautiful singing, intricit storytelling, and masterful themes throughout, it really feels like Amy put her whole soul into this project. Such a tragic story, love is a losing game.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
5

Loved this album! I used to live in an apartment and my upstairs neighbour was a huge coke head. Whenever we went into a coke rage I would press my speakers up to the ceiling and blast “Rehab”. Nice to hear it again!

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Sat Oct 22 2022
4

Torch songs for the Tinder era.

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Sun Aug 27 2023
4

Such a beautiful voice. It's sad to see someone with this much potential to just go how she did. There are so many big hits on this album. I definitely agree that she walked so Adele could run.

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

Just dynamite overall. What a talent. And such splendid "fuckery." How much one would have liked to see her career evolve, and if stability/sobriety might have had a salubrious effect. Janis Jopin is the obvious comp, though one might prefer AW. She sells every song convincingly, infusing every note with considerable soul and almost unbearable pathos in some places (because we know how it all ended). The opener is great, of course, as are "Me and Mr. Jones" and "Love Is a Losing Game." Hey editors: AW is not and never was a jazz singer and these aren't jazz songs (have at most a jazz aspect, and a pop-jazz one at that), though on some cuts her vocal style could accurately (if not precisely so) be described as jazzy. She's a soul / R&B / pop singer.

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Thu Nov 05 2020
3

Never been a Fan of Nirvana. This unplugged record is OK, though.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
3

Is it good? Who knows? It's sort of like discussing whether Homer's Odyssey is good. Feels a little overproduced, but buried underneath is a pure soul in torment. I've never been a huge fan of throwback music.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
3

This album was on in the background everywhere I went in the late 2000s but I never realised how short it is (35 mins). It's pretty good but it's strange that the production and that Mark Ronson sound feels a bit dated when they were trying to make an old school sounding album. The 'Amy' documentary is one of the saddest things I've ever watched.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
3

Look, it's not like it's a bad album. Not even close. But the fake, nostalgic vintage sound (the fauxstalgia, if you will) wears thin really REALLY fast. The fact that, following her death, dozens of imitations have popped up like mushrooms in the shade of a fallen tree doesn't help. I'm sick of hearing vocalists chewing their vowels to try to sound like fauxstalgic caricatures of the iconic vocalists of yore. For all that, it's still a good album. I can't, in good conscience, give it less than three stars. But my sheer annoyance with the fake vintage schtick won't let me give it any more than three stars either.

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Thu Jun 15 2023
2

So many 5 star reviews and I just don't get it. Her voice is good. But there are a million people with great voices. The music fine and sounds old without all the cruft that comes with old music. Which I think is fine. But this is really not special in any way. It's a record made by producers for a singer with an alcohol problem.

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Sat Nov 25 2023
2

"What kind of fuckery is this?" Its.... Amy Winehouse. IMO- people made such a big deal out of her and her character for absolutely no fucking reason, and it's a pretty highly rated album on this website, so maybe I'm missing something, but I absolutely despise "Rehab," it feels very artificial and most of the rest of the tracks off the album feel as if they offered very little that was musically interesting to me. That being said, while I was actively wishing the album to end, the title track, "Back to Black" came on, and I found myself turning up the volume and eagerly awaiting the next hook. Good track, it will be on the playlist. Despite the star track, I can't justify a rating higher than.. 2/5

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Thu Nov 30 2023
2

Music for insufferable women

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Fri Oct 23 2020
5

hands down one of the best albums ever made (also listened to the deluxe version, disc 2 contains a lot of good covers <3)

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Mon Nov 09 2020
5

One of the artists I am still, even today, sad is gone. This is a great album, and a style that wasn't being done in those days. A great loss. The title track is so good, and Rehab, of course. Classic album, all-timer for me.

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Wed Dec 23 2020
5

I've never listened to Amy Winehouse before. Sadly. Her voice is amazing. The song writing was great. This was just a great album.

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Wed Dec 23 2020
5

can't stop crying when I listen to it

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

One of the great lives of my life

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Very soulful vocals. Funny jokes about relationships.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

modern, bluesy, raw. I love this album and tragic artist.

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Wed May 19 2021
5

I think rehab is one of the best songs of the 21st century so far and the rest of album is great as well

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Powerful lyrics portrayed by an even more powerful voice. Amy's best piece. Loved it...

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

know like every word to this album proper classic

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

there isn’t a single song on this album that isn’t good. amy I’m in love with you

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

Short and sweet. A modern classic.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Miss her. Love is a losing game- forgot how much I loved that song.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

I remember hearing about Amy Winehouse, but I never really listened to any of her music. I like 60s music, and this is inspired by that era, so I liked it pretty well. It was smooth to listen to.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

An amazing album from start to finish. Great production and a generational talent. I'd say this is my first 5/5 that would also be a 10/10.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

A 5 star album, as simple as that. Takes me back to nights out in Camden and my time at MTV. One of my faves albums of all time.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

A classic. Must admit, I didn’t enjoy revisiting as much as I thought I would but still feel it deserves top marks

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Asså tror typ det blir en femma på denna! Älskar det❤️❤️❤️ Har dock lyssnat sönder det... 5/5

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Tao bom quanto o outro Back to Black

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Sun Mar 14 2021
5

Понятно, почему ее все хвалят

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

A twist of modern soul. Her voice was gorgeous!

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

I see this album still being considered a classic in a couple of decades.

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Mon May 31 2021
5

Modern lyrics, classic style, and extraordinary execution.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
5

Amy Winehouse was a very talented person. Sad she left the world too soon. Great Album. One of a kind voice.

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Sun May 09 2021
5

Ken ik al natuurlijk. Geweldig.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

Killer album, should listen more often. Even the songs that aren’t hits are really pleasant. I’m not sure I ever gave enough credit to her band and co.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

Would be 4.5. There were 2 tracks I didn't care for, but mostly great.

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Thu Jul 29 2021
5

One of my absolute favourite albums. Regularly listen to this and it never gets old. Every track is excellent.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
5

Lets gooooooo Comeon thats a five and I havent even heard it today yet

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Sun Aug 22 2021
5

Such an incredible talent. It’s a shame she died so young but at least we have this masterpiece to remember her by. 5 stars.

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Tue Aug 24 2021
5

This has been one of my favorites for quite some time now. And that's saying a lot since I was about 11 when it came out. Giving it another listen, I don't really feel that different. It's fresh, full of emotion, raw, and honest. And I couldn't ask for more.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

Classic alert! My dad used to play this one when I was a kid, but would skip the bits with the swear words if I was there

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Thu Sep 02 2021
5

This is awesome. Enough said

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Tue Sep 21 2021
5

One of the most perfect pairings of songwriting and production of the 21st century

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

I always found "Rehab" annoying, but the rest is very solid. Well worth the listen.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

I haven't heard this one in awhile. Love this album so much. R.I.P. Amy

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Sun Oct 03 2021
5

I always wanted to listen this album. That’s a good chance :)

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

Beautiful voice, stunning album.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

I’ve owned BACK TO BLACK and listened to it regularly since shortly after its release. The album is a masterpiece that propelled the sound of the 60s into the 21st Century. It still feels fresh and modern 15 years after its release. Amy Winehouse’s delivery is spectacular on every song. I could list any song on it as a favorite. "Addicted" may be the best weed song ever. "Rehab" is a revelation. "Tears Dry On Their Own" is a showcase of brilliant phrasing. BACK TO BLACK is perfection.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

This was yet another time when I had known and (really) loved a few songs, but wishing so much I'd gotten the album back in the day!! Upon listening, I was so happy to hear the familiar first two songs: the always incredible "Rehab" and the glorious, sultry "You Know I'm No Good" (I forgot how much I love that song). THEN! THEN! THEN! A glorious, soulful, retro intro leads to "What kind of fuckery is this?" and I think I laughed and yelled and I immediately listened to that intro about 7 times over again and this is when I knew I should have bought the damn album a long time ago. I listened to the song "Back to Black" about 12 times today, because I forgot it was one of my favorites ever and I missed it lots. (I also had missed some of those lyrics! Whoa!) "Tears Dry on Their Own" with the homage to "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" was so cool and good (ran out of adjectives, sorry). I was going to say that "Addicted" wasn't my favorite until I heard what she rhymed that word with. I was so glad to have listened to Solomon Burke the day before, because Winehouse's connection to 60s soul music is so loving and spot on. I read that she wouldn't listen to anything from after 1967. I absolutely love her voice and her songs. I love the instrumentation and the retro feel that still seems fresh and new. I loved getting a top of the tops album at this point in this project. How I wish she were still with us.

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Sat Oct 30 2021
5

Easy to get lost in the lifestyle bullshit, but jesus, what a voice. Fantastic album.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

CLASSIC. Amy winehouse is a modern pop icon that establishes its influece well in a new light

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

One of my all time favorites

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

One of my constants when I'm working. Great album from a phenomenal artist who's gone too soon.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

I mean, it's not Frank, which I believe is the better album lyrically (there is a rawness to it that I feel was polished off in this album), but it's still a superb piece of music. Hearing this the year of its 15 anniversary, when I'm personally 6 years older than Amy ever will be, just underscores how much of a musical talent she was. I know this will be stuck in my head for days now.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

Love the soulful vocals on this, really elevated the lyrical content a lot more. Production also kicked ass with its shmancy asthetic for the whole duration of the album. Favorites: You Know I'm No Good, Back To Black, Tears Dry On Their Own, Valerie (from deluxe)

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

Damn this is a good one. I knew so many of these songs individually but have never listened to the whole thing through. It's really good. The Jazz and soul vibes are great, but there's even some Reggae mixed in on the deluxe version that really is fantastic

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