Amy Winehouse


When I saw Sharon Jones a month or so ago, I learned that her band, the Dap-Kings, backed up Amy Winehouse on her album Back to Black and the subsequent U.S. tour. As I sat down to write about seeing Jones, who was spectacular, I thought about mentioning the Dap-Kings’ history with Winehouse, but I couldn’t. Just typing her name seemed too sad. At the time, she had just cancelled a European tour, due to her ongoing substance abuse problems, and it gave me no joy to juxtapose the two singers’ careers. The same feeling struck me over the weekend, when I heard she had died, and I considered writing a post about her. Just too sad. But to avoid writing about her now, as I did a month ago, would be a mistake. I’d be defining Winehouse by her struggles and premature death, instead of celebrating her immense talent, considerable influence and award-winning music. One of the most magical things about musicians, writers, filmmakers and artists of all stripes is that as troubled as they may be in their personal lives, by creating art, they put pieces of themselves out into the world — fleeting moments when they’re at their absolute best — and after these people are gone, we can look back on what they’ve created and soak in not just the beauty of a song or painting, but the beauty that lived inside the person who created it (I know this sounds a little Harry-Potter-horcrux-y, forgive me). With this silver lining in mind, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite songs from Winehouse’s first album Frank, called “Fuck Me Pumps.” In a hilarious critique of gold-digging women, this tune showcases her incredible voice as well as her incredibly witty songwriting, which doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Did you know she wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on her two outstanding albums? I didn’t until recently. Check out “Fuck Me Pumps” below, buy Frank here, and spend some time remembering Amy Winehouse at her best.

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