» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Amy Winehouse
Back to Black
Universal Republic

Rating: 8/10 ?

April 2, 2007
Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of My Tears" is, in my opinion, one of the best songs ever written. On her sophomore effort Back to Black, Amy Winehouse has managed to write a whole bunch of songs that have the same feel as any number of Mr. Robinsons greatest tracks. One of the best examples of this is the title track "Back to Black," which can be summed up as a break-up song, centered around a theme of slipping further into depression after being hurt, whilst trying to be strong. Lyrically Winehouse is very candid with her feelings, penning tracks about refusing to go to rehab and failed relationships. Each song is like flipping through Winehouse's journal, and even at the rather green age of 23 her words are those of a person who's experienced a number of life's ups and downs.

Going back to the sound, not only is Smokey Robinson present, but also the influence of numerous girl groups of the 1960s, and a hint of Northern Soul, especially in the title track. You can tell that Winehouse is a huge fan of those genres, and she's done her homework. Some of the songs are very bare, much like the sound of the Shirelles and the myriad of girl groups that followed in their footsteps, a setup that leaves room for Winehouse's voice to shine. Employing this structure is a very clever move, because she has an incredible voice. It's extremely powerful, but at the same time fragile and sad. It's like she's trying to be strong, but just beneath the tough tattooed fašade there's an immense sadness hiding. Just like Smokey Robinson in "The Tracks of My Tears."

To put it succinctly, Amy Winehouse has made a really good record. The songs are multilayered, and if you want to you can pick them apart in search of all the things that inspires her. If, however, you decide not to be a geek about it, the tracks on Back to Black also work as a whole. It's a good record to spend an afternoon or a weekend with.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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