Troubled and incredibly talented British soul vocalist, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Amy Winehouse[/lastfm], died today of an overdose at the age of 27. Most infamous for her song “Rehab,” Winehouse was renowned for her drug-inspired deterioration, her haphazard demeanor, her life picked apart by the media, and her distinctively gorgeous soul vocals.
Because of the way Winehouse was portrayed in the media and her constant drug-addiction, we never seemed to get a chance to get to know the real her, except through the power of her voice and music. What the world discovered (and fell in love with) was a young woman with a brash sense of humor, an empathic understanding of the human condition, and a beautiful, yet vulnerable soul.
In honor of Amy Winehouse’s immense talent, we’ve put together a list of our Top 10 Favorite Amy Winehouse Songs, each with their own story and glimpse into Winehouse’s short life.
Even though “Valerie” was written by[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Mark Ronson[/lastfm] and isn’t technically an Amy Winehouse song, Winehouse’s vocals on Ronson’s song from his sophomore album Version skyrocketed both Ronson and Winehouse to fame around the same time.
Ronson produced Winehouse’s second and last album, Back To Black, and both musicians became iconic symbols of the modern British soul movement.
9. “Wake Up Alone”
Despite Winehouse’s battles with addiction and the media’s harsh representation of her life, Winehouse’s lyrics and gut-wrenching voice spoke intimately to an entire generation of women going through the same issues.
“Wake Up Alone” is the sort of song any young modern woman dealing with a broken heart would understand, with lyrics like:
Got so sick of crying, so just lately when I catch myself I do a one-eighty/I stay up, clean the house, at least I’m not drinking/Run around just so I don’t have to think about thinking/That silent sense of content that everyone gets/Just disappears as soon as the sun sets
Addiction was not just a life choice that Amy Winehouse made to have “fun” and get high. Her addiction was a prison that she could never truly break free from.
Although Winehouse’s song from Back To Black, “Addicted,” was a tongue-in-cheek request for no one to touch her drugs, lyrics where she says she rather be alone and smoke than deal with anyone else show signs of her deep sadness.
7. “F**k Me Pumps”
One of the most popular songs off Winehouse’s first album, 2004’s Frank, “F**k Me Pumps” shows that Winehouse wasn’t just a sad spectacle; Winehouse was a sexy, fun, and hilarious young woman who brought a refreshing bit of snarky irony to the classic gold-digging woman song.
6. “Me & Mr. Jones”
A female play on the famous Billy Paul song “Me & Mrs. Jones,” Winehouse’s version where she embodies the “other woman” proved that women could be just as scandalous.
She also name drops [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Slick Rick[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sammy Davis Jr.[/lastfm] and alludes to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nas[/lastfm], making the song a perfect amalgamation of new and old music.
5. “Love Is A Losing Game”
When Winehouse was writing Back To Black she was going through emotional turmoil with her partner Blake Fielder-Civil who left Winehouse to go back to his ex-girlfriend. “Love Is A Losing Game” is one of her most heart-wrenching, torch burner songs.
The song that will forever be equated with Amy Winehouse and her trails and tribulations with drugs, the media, and her music career, “Rehab” was Winehouse’s lead single off Back To Black. Name dropping[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Ray Charles[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Donny Hathaway[/lastfm] and with a voice similar to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Etta James[/lastfm], the critics ate up Winehouse’s soulful ’60s style meets beehived bad girl.
Unfortunately, the lyrics weren’t based on some passing phase and they rapidly became a source of mockery for the drug-addicted young singer.
3. “You Know That I’m No Good”
Winehouse’s self-aware bad girl anthem, “You Know That I’m No Good,” quantified the vast number of vices that Winehouse was inclined to partake in.
The song was a hit because many women, trapped in these worlds where they could only be very good or very bad, were struck by the incredibly emotional and forgiving way Winehouse sings about herself.
2. “Tears Dry On Their Own”
Another song about unrequited love with Blake Fielder-Civil, “Tears Dry On Their Own” spoke to a very broken-hearted woman having brutally honest dialogue with herself about why she is so attached to a man who doesn’t love her.
Ironically, the musical arrangement is based on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”–a song about doing anything for your lover written by the married couple Ashford and Simpson.
1. “Back To Black”
The title of her immensely popular second and last album, “Back To Black” was a song written about Winehouse’s struggles with love and addiction. Once Fielder-Civil went back to his ex-girlfriend, Winehouse caved back in to the dark parts of her being.
Her darkness made beautiful, life-changing music, but it kept her trapped in the constant oppressive shadow of addiction.
- What is your favorite Amy Winehouse song? How do you feel about Winehouse’s death? Let us know in the comments!