Jul 022007

Designed for “comeback”

Townsman Saturnismine sent in the following thoughts and asks the Hall for its advice.

Thankfully, every now and then, the Great Big Music Machine in the Sky spits something out that’s flawed, irregular, maybe not even likable, but possessing qualities so intriguing that we can’t look away, even if we sense tragedy in the final frame. This time it’s a British soul Jewess named Amy Winehouse. She’s a one woman freakshow of mixed signifiers, a completely “hot mess” if you will: big hair, tattoos, a seemingly authentic “other woman” persona, a fine pair of husky pipes, and a feel for vocal phrasing so subtle that the utterance of a single note can make this Townsman feel connected to the Universal life force at its very source.

Just as the Summer of ’06 was The Summer of (Gnarles Barkley’s) “Crazy”, Summer ‘07 may very well go down in pop annals as “Rehab” Summer. If you haven’t heard this neo-Ray Charles handclapper in the supermarket, the Laundromat, or while waiting for Sethro Baer to fix your teeth, then you live under a rock. For cryin’ out loud, this is the song that made my mother teach herself how to download music from iTunes. For those of you who haven’t heard “Rehab” (from Winehouse’s late 2006 release Back to Black), take a listen.

It’s nice to hear a distinctive voice interpreting and performing a song. It’s also a pleasure to hear some thoughtful production that manages to sound new (without embracing studio-by-numbers, Sam Ash trends) while at the same time sounding vintage.

If we dig deeper into Back to Black, we find everything “Rehab” promises – and more: lyrics with intelligent word play that doesn’t obscure meaning; nuanced, but never labored sounding vocals on every track. But perhaps most impressive is that Amy wrote the songs. We hear an in-depth tutorial in the “isms” of Billie Holliday, Spector’s girl-groups, Motown, Memphis, Aretha, and Amy’s British girl forebear in the pursuit of Americanness, Dusty Springfield. Somehow, we also hear more than a few fucked-up-isms stolen from the bottom of Rickie Lee Jones’ bag of tricks. But Amy hasn’t just skimmed the surface in order to graft this or that move from her idols. She’s inspired. She “walks with” her idols rather than looking up to them. One imagines that she’s been listening to the stuff (and nothing but this stuff) and singing along all her life.

The combination of sadness and bounce in “Me & Mr. Jones” is so evocative of a post-war/pre-Beatles past that it automatically conjures images of too much lipstick, cat glasses, and grainy 8-mm movies of children in footy pajamas around Christmas trees spliced with, oh, I dunno…equally grainy footage of JFK’s head splattering all over Jackie O’s pink coat. But what really make “Me & Mr. Jones” special are little moments like the one at 0:20. Check how Amy drops her throat into her heels to sing the words “Slick Rick gig.” If we suspected, before this utterance, that we were listening to the bitch offspring of Ma Rainey, Billie, and Ronnie, we’re sure of it by 0:26.

The album’s crowning jewel is “Love is a Losing Game”, a pungent chunk of turf from Nelson Riddle’s backyard, featuring a devastating, harsh, but vulnerable and hesitating vocal. At 0:46, Amy tosses the word “love” across a sea of strings with a sad carelessness rarely mustered by singers in any era. Effortlessly, she has shared with us an exceedingly private moment, when she has mournfully, but absentmindedly thrown something into the dustbin that was once more important to her than anything else in the whole world; heartbreaks have turned love into a trifle that has been gathering dust on the mantle, something obsolete that needs tossing before it becomes a problem again.

Choose any moment to focus on her voice, you’ll find stuff like this. Back to Black is an ocean full of treasures buried beneath the gravel at the bottom of the sea.

And if there’s any question as to whether or not Amy can bring this kind of heat live, search Youtube for her Letterman performance, or check this one: a cracked, yet powerful reading of “Rehab”…

…all while fixing her hair! Say what you want about some of the more affected vocal stylings in this appearance, the girl’s got “stuff.”

And this is where it gets complicated. There’s a heap of evidence suggesting that Amy’s destined for a place of honor in The Pantheon. If she keeps turning in tunes and performances like these, maybe she even gets “all time great” status, right?

Not so fast. At the same time that I hear profound gifts, I’m skeptical. Dig even deeper, and maybe you’ll feel like I do; we’re watching a wildly gifted, musically intelligent, but spoiled, self-indulgent kid who is enamored of her own gifts, has no idea that she’s not invincible, who is hell bent on crashing and burning. It’s a part of the persona she and her “people” are crafting, you say? Well, yes and no. There’s no question that the “troubled bad girl persona” puts asses in the seats, especially if the occasional incident that makes the stuff in her songs ring true finds its way into the press.

But this “tragic figure” stuff isn’t total fakery. Even “Rehab” tells the story of Amy’s refusal to get help for her drinking problem at her management team’s request after erratic public behavior in ‘03. Rather than obey their wishes, she fired them and went into a 2-year funk without writing a single song. In fact, Back to Black’s producer, Mark Ronson, deserves much of the credit for the album’s beauty and its success. As Winehouse willingly and repeatedly acknowledges, she wouldn’t have started writing again if she hadn’t met him. Since her celebrity has gained momentum, even as studio bigwigs toy with the idea of offering her the role as the next Bond girl, there’s been nothing but a series embarrassing drunken public appearances (including more than one onstage puking), tour date cancellations due to incurable hangovers, ugly spats with rivals, and repeated Cobain-esque declarations of a death wish (punctuated by a recent onstage incident featuring her use of broken glass to etch her boyfriend’s name into her belly). It’s pretty hard NOT to find YouTubes of her mumbling her way through her own songs from the bottom of a glass.

In the following YouTube, from this past April, we can almost see the moment when the alcohol takes effect. The crash that begins around with 1:58 remaining and climaxes with about 1:30 left, when she forgets which part of her own song comes next.

Folks, I can’t decide what I’m looking at here. I think it’s been a long time since such gifts have come down the pike. But I think it’s been an even longer time (maybe since Cobain) since we’ve seen such gifts in the possession of someone so ill-equipped to handle them.

I appeal to RTH to help me with my Amy Winehouse fixation. Do you approve? Or should I forget this girl? Will she break my heart? Will you intervene for the sake of my own emotional health? Would a “healthy” Amy make for half the singer she is now? Should I just enjoy the ride? Is the beauty of Back to Black just the result of patient production, or is the talent I’m hearing REAL? I look forward to your advice.


  36 Responses to “Once in Love with Amy”

  1. saturnismine

    mod, thanks for indulging me.

    plurbis, try to wrap your head around this gal, wouldja? you can help me, i’m sure. i’ll accept your harshest if it’s grounded in close, thoughtful listening, which i know it will be.

    In fact, thought of the tastes of many RTHers while writing this. BigSteve’s knowledge of the classics, Sally’s interest in 60s culture, Fritz’ thriftstore buys, Pelusi’s all’round knowledge and eclecticism, and his unique, insightful take on current trends.

    In other words, I think Amy’s tapping a wide vein…

    i’m gonna be off RTH till about midweek (deadlines loom and Seth will be filling my head with needles, dentists drills, and…well….fillings, tomorrow).

    have a good day.


  2. saturnismine

    oh, and, mod…i want your thoughts on amy’s ‘look’!

  3. She’s Jewish – of course I approve

    Andy (heeb) R

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Let me chime in with some opening thoughts on this artist. I’ve now listened to the 3 clips about 8 times each. I like the last one best, “Love Is a Losing Game”. Each time I listen to “Rehab” I’m less enamored of the obvious hooks and retro-in-a-box production and more bugged by the continued societal trend toward Coffee Table Rock. There’s really little wrong with this stuff other than the fact that it’s a marketing ploy to set me up for buying a half dozen remastered box sets of “classic” music. In a way, I’ve had the same feeling listening to Nick Lowe’s latest – and I don’t mean to suggest that the artists have the goal in mind of shilling for the back catalogs of the music industry a few months in advance of the holiday season. I get to the best songs on that new Lowe album and I think to myself, “Isn’t it about time you just buy a Nat King Cole greatest hits album?” I might as well beging work on a wax figure of myself while I’m at it. I’m just not ready for complete calcification and/or acceptance of the limitations of my tastes.

    What annoys me to a new level with Winehouse is her Look: the rub-on tattoos, the strap-o messy beehive hairdo (like she’s too cool to maintain her beehive with a can of Hair Net spray), the campaign around her “Jewess-ness” (like I’m supposed to think it’s really cool that a Jewish girl from the UK in 2007 can get skanked out and sing da blooz real authentic like)… Just reach out and blow me already, Amy!

    In short, I’m all for artists presenting themselves in some cool, new fashion, but make it cool and new – and fashionable. And do something beside Harry Connick Jr. music for the MySpace generation.

    Other than that, the performances show talent that will never be challenged. I don’t think it’s in Winehouse’s game plan to sustain a music career. I don’t know if these people come up with the plans themselves, develop them in conjunction with Guy Parmagiano-type sleazy managers, or have them foisted upon them by said sleazy managers, but it’s a waste of my – and your – time. She’ll take 4 years to release her next album. A tit will slip out of one of those thrift store gowns. She’ll get wasted with Courtney Love. She’ll get the role as the “bad girl” lounge singer in the next Bond flick. She’ll get glammed up in a white satin gown and blonde ringlets. She’ll record a duet with Nick Cave. She’ll break up Nic Cage’s marriage. And so on. Five years from now her sounds will spill out ofthe PA system at Target, and you’ll be transported back to these magical times of Amy Winehouse, Gnarls Barkley, and Outkast.

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    FAR too self-consciously retro-gimmick for me — and believe me, I’m a HUGE fan of the era she’s recreating. As Moddie suggests, she’s the Harry Connick Jr. for the MySpace generation. On the other hand, I got nothing against pop music, and she’s obviously that. Bottom line: a grade of D- for, I dunno, “artistic relevance” or something; a solid B for spicing up the charts with something of considerably better quality than, say, “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

  6. Hmmm, I’ve gone through the Shelby Lynne, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse stage, and come out the back door somehow to realize that I’m glad that I got through it alive.

    Just before Christmas my friend Marc, who has been dj’ing the British indie scene on his radio show Cowboys & Indies back home for over 15 years, sent me Amy Winehouse’s new single as part of a double CD comp when I asked him to send me his latest favourite tracks. Amy pretty much had me at the opening lines of Rehab (as you correctly guessed, Ismine).

    I’ve seen a few of her live performances posted up, and she always looks so out of it, like some kind of rag-doll thrown up on stage to give her name a persona. You never know if she’s gonna fall over, or fall out of her dress (if she hasn’t shown tit yet, Mr. Mod – just wait for it, she’s just about shown the other half).

    I have to put this into the perspective of Motown, and Tamla, and the house of Berry Gordy, Jr. No matter what went on behind the scenes, they looked like polished gems when they were on stage and sounded – and acted – like it too. They were there to entertain and show you that they were THE entertainers. Amy kind of puts this idea to shame while throwing around it’s very ideals, and ends up in Whitney territory – which IS a shame, because I do think that she does have talent, and a fucking amazing voice.

  7. meanstom

    Who was drunker, Winehouse or the person shooting that last video? Were Rock Crimes broken in forcing those two backup singers to shuck and jive overtime as that performance fell into a complete mess?

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Sally C wrote:

    I have to put this into the perspective of Motown, and Tamla, and the house of Berry Gordy, Jr. No matter what went on behind the scenes, they looked like polished gems when they were on stage and sounded – and acted – like it too. They were there to entertain and show you that they were THE entertainers.

    Good point. THE point. Winehouse’s schtick is to piss on her own coffee table rock offering.

  9. I’m surprised that no one has brought this up and I didn’t wanna go “there”, but here I go anyway. Like many others who have commented so far, I’m conflicted about her. As someone who owns and loves Back to Black (way more than oh I don’t know, Lily Allen, Joss Stone or any other flavor-of-the-month type UK female singer), I still feel like I have to defend my liking of the album based upon how much I dislike almost everything else in regards to her persona.

    The one thing that bugs me the most, though, even more than the constant drunkenness, etc. is that she’s way too skinny now compared to how she looked a few years ago. My guess is that some exec at Universal told her to slim down (unnecessarily) or otherwise they’d drop her or wouldn’t promote her to superstar status, which is what’s obviously happened in the past year or so. This is a real shame for a number of reasons. First off, she used to be really hot.

    But more importantly, young girls don’t need another rail-thin “role model” to try and emulate as there are too many already and it causes too many problems already (in women of all sizes, mind you). If you look at the before and after pictures in this article, you’ll see what I mean:

    I think that says it all really and yes I know it’s a tabloid. Sorry!

  10. saturnismine

    great comments all!

    just a quickie, on a break:

    sally, i knew the canadian in you wouldn’t take to her irreverence. as you can tell by my blog (where i call her a “spoiled brat”), i don’t dig it either.

    mod, i don’t think amy’s “pissing” all over her own coffee table shtick is a calculated move for “cool” points as you seem to be suggesting (if i’m being reductive of your stance, just give me a kick in the nads, apologies in advance). i don’t think she can help herself but let things get a little messy in public (and btw, she’s ALREADY taken a few years to make a followup album. been there, done that). it’s probably not so simple. I DO, however, think she might be “overhandled”, as matt suggests, and probably hates it, and might, therefore, be more into not giving a shit because she hates the over handling.

    tom, you’re right. that last youtube is sad. it’s entitled “amy wine-o SHOULD go to rehab” by whomever put it up there.

    ever used to the way things go here on rth: i typed this part out last night in anticipation of “lookist” comments:

    I tend to look at things like “look” and “hype” and “image” like the NFL draft. Once a talent is noticed and drawn up into the “bigs”, they get slotted based on their strengths. In other words, I tend not to blame Amy or most artists for her “look”. Nor would I let it pollute what I’m hearing in the songs, unless it’s obvious. She’s not the first, and she won’t be the last, whose image is crafted.

    Besides, it seems to be based on who she is, her “classic” aspirations and troubled, “white trash alcoholic” life combined. In other words, I’m not trying to prohibit a discussion of her look, which I find amusing and a great point of conversation.

    But I sure as shit won’t abide by complete dismissals of her BASED ON her look. That would be a distortion, as if an image that seems perfectly crafted for a certain segment of consumers is some cardinal sin that pollutes the actual quality of the tunes themselves.

    I wrote such vivid descriptions of the music because I had hoped we could focus on the music. I got beyond the image bullshit because of what I heard in her voice and I’m happy I did.

    i have more thoughts, but i’ll withhold them.

    thanks all…

    back in the tank…


  11. saturnismine

    ps: matt, i think a story did leak about her handlers telling her to lose “ten or fifteen stone”, which she denies (wink wink).

  12. Mr. Moderator

    Saturnismine wrote:

    …as you can tell by my blog

    What is this blog of yours?

    You may be right about what you felt I was saying regarding her “schtick.” Let me rephrase it a bit: our culture, these days, almost demands that we piss over our own coffee tables. Artists who do that as part of their act are rewarded handsomely.

    Your desire to rise above a discussion of Winehouse’s Look strikes me as unrealistic if not insincere. If we’re going to throw out discussion of her Look, let’s also disregard her whiteness, her Britishness, her “Jewess-ness,” her tattoos, her strap-on hair, her weight (actually, I’d be happy not to worry too much about that – it’s one thing that’s nobody’s business), and her alcoholism. How many times must you remind us that she’s got a train-wreck appeal, Saturn? Answer my question, whatever it is!

  13. her “Jewess-ness,”

    I’m not normally one for censorship of any sort, but can I make a motion to ban the word “Jewess” in this discussion? I know you put it in quotes and that you don’t mean anything bad by it, but it’s the equivalent of if we were talking about Yoko Ono and the phrase “dragon-lady-ish” was bandied about regularly.

    And yes, I’m a Heeb if anyone is wondering. 🙂

  14. Answer my question, whatever it is! I was wondering what it was too!! 😉

    I don’t think we can disregard the “Look” or anything else that goes along with it – because it IS unfortunately the package that we’re being sold and I’m not sure you can get away from that when she’s in the “big leagues” of charting. But, I also don’t think it’s insensitive to ask us to do so either – but rather Art’s way of saying, listen to the music first and foremost. You just can’t get away from her video image of her drinking and singing though, quite a disgrace – but Look at Shane MacGowan! Still drunk after all these years. That should be a greatest hits album, right there.

  15. I found listening to her songs posted here pretty enjoyable, although the faux 1966 copy of what was already a copy can sure be a bummer if it’s overdone. But I can imagine playing some of her songs if I found them available at the right price. As to the discussions of her drinking and other personality issues, the only thing that’s more astonishing than how little I care is that some of you seem to.

  16. saturnismine

    mod, by “my blog” i meant what I wrote above, to initiate this discussion, and which you posted for me.

    let’s get this straight: i didn’t say “disregard” the look. i meant it when i said it’s a great topic of conversation

    i said let’s not dismiss her completely, based on her look, and also pleaded for a discussion of the music, the songwriting, the sounds…which has gotten very little ink here.

    once again, it must be obvious that i find a genuine gift in her voice and the tunes. i was really hoping to talk about that in the main.

    and christ, man, please don’t attack my sincerity, for crying out loud. a balanced discussion is all i wanted.

    i even ANTICIPATED that the majority of the words people posted here would be about “look”, and wrote something LAST NIGHT in order to respond.

    matt, i didn’t know “jewess” was tantamount to “dragon lady”. sorry…


  17. saturnismine

    one more thing: mod wrote…

    “Each time I listen to “Rehab” I’m less enamored of the obvious hooks and retro-in-a-box production and more bugged by the continued societal trend toward Coffee Table Rock.”

    mod, with a phrase like “obvious hooks” you make writing a song like “rehab” sound like it’s something that anyone could do if they wished to “play that card”, but choose not to. it’s not THAT easy. i think songs like that are hard for songwriters to come by.

    don’t mistake catchiness for cheapness.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    Hey Matt, I’m all for moving away from that “Jewess” description as well. I put it in quotes not to make it less offensive but to highlight its use in Sat’s initial post and many other reviews I’ve read of this woman. It strikes me as creepy as the old, awkward term “Negress.” My point in pointing it out, however, is that I find the whole “exotic” aspect of her (as well as the weight issue) a bit offensive to anyone open-minded enough to allow that Brits, Jews, and/or people either on the thin or heavy side to be in any way astounding for their ability to sing like a black woman from the ’30s or ’60s. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, etc have been able to sing and sing like other people in time. What’s this Winehouse giving us that’s interesting? Like someone said, despite any criticisms, these songs are much better than most of what passes for mainstream music these days.

  19. Mr. Moderator

    Oh, and I want to be clear that I’m NOT saying Sat was using the term to be offensive or that he was ignorant to its perceived use as such. I think the term IS part of her persona, so it’s inevitable that we’ll use it now and then.

  20. Now that everybody’s all twisted up, can you reach down and touch your toes?

  21. Mr. Moderator

    Saturnismine wrote:

    mod, with a phrase like “obvious hooks” you make writing a song like “rehab” sound like it’s something that anyone could do if they wished to “play that card”, but choose not to. it’s not THAT easy. i think songs like that are hard for songwriters to come by.

    Hey, someone like Townsman Al, Townsman BigSteve, or Townsman Epluribus (or maybe Townsman Hrrundi) can back me up: that “Rehab” song is COMPLETELY modeled after some old song. I don’t know a lot about the type of Ray Charles-influenced music she traffics in, but I KNOW there’s a song with a place name (geographic, if I’m not mistaken) and the music and lyrical construction are almost identical to what Winehouse cleverly does with the place where she does not want to go. This is not to suggest that putting a twist on traditional source material is not creative, but it’s not some groundbreaking piece of songwriting! It’s like a “response” song written 45 years after the initial song.

    Sorry if I got your goat with charges of “insincerity” and the like. I did not mean to suggest that as much as I did get you and others (especially) to wake up and tune inoto the fact that there’s much to be discussed in this “blog” of yours. This is a prime opportunity for the old farts who listen to nothing released after 1983 to click on the songs you’ve provided, listen, and comment. I don’t want you guys calling me up or running into me in person and telling me, “Yeah, man, you really stuck it to that Winehouse chick on Rock Town Hall the other day!” I’m not even sure that I’m confident about anything regarding this woman’s music yet other than the fact that it strikes me as one more example of a talented singer using a sort of musical Photoshop to re-create some of her favorite records from the past.

  22. saturnismine

    mod, you’re probably right about amy’s proximity to the line between imitation and assimilation. i’m gonna have some time in a few days to pull out the old Ray Charles vinyl i’ve scored over the years and give a listen. i didn’t hear any songs in particular.

    with your “sorry” paragraph above, you’re a stand-up bloke, and every word of it rings true with me. i even like the “photoshop” analogy. but as i say at the top, i DO hear a life in these songs. fritz applauds her for bringing something with more substance to the top of the charts than what usually resides there. i couldn’t agree more. perhaps it’s this “not bad for these times” aspect of it that is also problematic….

  23. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod said:

    Hey Matt, I’m all for moving away from that “Jewess” description as well. I put it in quotes not to make it less offensive but to highlight its use in Sat’s initial post and many other reviews I’ve read of this woman. It strikes me as creepy as the old, awkward term “Negress.”

    I ask:

    Waitaminnit — does this mean I can no longer refer to Beyonce Knowles as an “octaroon”?

    Lighten up, everybody!

  24. BigSteve

    I’m still traveling, and the videos won’t load on this laptop. Mwall may be right that the drinking should not affect appreciate of her studio albums, but seeing her slur though a song on TV or in a club may very well affect a prospective fan’s appreciation of an artist.

    I’d never heard the Rehab song before today. To me it sounds like a cross between the Name Game and any number of Irma Thomas songs, with Ray Charles Wurlitzer and Phil Spector chimes as bonuses. Sort of retrosoul mix n match!

  25. Buried in there somewhere, Mr. Ismine writ:

    “Folks, I can’t decide what I’m looking at here. I think it’s been a long time since such gifts have come down the pike. But I think it’s been an even longer time (maybe since Cobain) since we’ve seen such gifts in the possession of someone so ill-equipped to handle them.”

    I like Winehouse, not as much as Cobain, but here’s my question back to you, do you feel cheated by Kurt’s inability to cope? He might’ve been better off if the whole Nirvana thing never happened, but can we know? Is the work inextricably linked to the character flaws?

  26. The Mod-like One said:

    “I’m not even sure that I’m confident about anything regarding this woman’s music yet other than the fact that it strikes me as one more example of a talented singer using a sort of musical Photoshop to re-create some of her favorite records from the past.”

    Ah, but the devil is in the details, and some of the details are really great. I think that she brings something of her own to these Photoshop creations. Yeah, there’s loads of cribbed elements but I’d say that the details, her spin on those borrowed elements are uniquely her own. Some folks adopt a “style” as a mask to cover up their lack of personality, some adopt a style as a Prock exercise to demonstrate encyclopedic knowledge of the elements of the style, the really good ones adopt a style that speaks to them and they speak through it.

  27. Mr. Moderator

    Amy sez:

    “You know how you either grow up in a Michael Jackson house or a Prince house?” says Winehouse, whose accent reveals her north London roots. “For me it was Michael Jackson.”

    Geo, in which type of house did you grow up?

  28. Christ Almighty, Mod. I was outta the house by the time Prince and solo Michael Jackson showed up.

  29. dbuskirk

    Sure she can sing, but the record wore thin quick with me, like a Stray Cats record. I’d never seen the “before” look that Matt posted before, I had an inadvertant eye-popping, Tex Avery wolf moment over the curvy Amy, the skinny one looks like the entertainment at a strip bar in the bad part of town.

  30. Mr. Moderator

    Now THAT’S the way to bring it home, Townsman dbuskirk! Thank you for the dose of sanity and straight talk.

  31. I’m not on the train. One thing you’ll note as you see more recent photos of Amy, like from the last three months or so, says it all:

    She’s looking more and more like Shane McGowan every day. Especially given that she’s lost even more weight since the promo photos for this album, I’m fairly certain that Ms. Winehouse has discovered heroin in addition to her well-publicized fondness for drink.

    If you’re the type to take part in Celebrity Death Watch pools, fill out your ballots now because there’s a very good chance she’s not going to be around next July 4.

  32. Mr. Moderator

    After reading The Great 48’s comments and a few interviews/features on this artist, I’m beginning to think it’s not Coffee Table Rock that she’s making but a broader form of art that’s popular today: Celebrity Snuff.

  33. Wow. Stumbled in here by accident (The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper site let me to a blog with a link to your Beatles flushing toilet). Whoever you are, you write about music exceedingly well. I just discovered Amy W. a few weeks ago, got the CD, and am now hooked. I knew very little about her, and thanks to you, now I do. I have a little game of merging bits of other songs into a current song, in my mind. The latest: the horns from Ike & Tina’s “Proud Mary” pops perfectly into “Rehab”!

  34. saturnismine

    Just checking in….

    first things first. Seth Baer is one helluva dentist.

    second things first: “moi”, i don’t want to assume that it’s MY initial “article” or “blurb” on amy that you’re praising as being written “exceedingly well”, because many of RTH’s finest have posted some really articulate stuff here, but if it was my writing you’re referring to, thank you VERY much. if you merge bits of different songs together in your mind, you’re a potential songwriter without knowing it. well, you know it now, because i just told you.

    anyway, WELCOME ABOARD! “Mr. Moderator” is normally the welcoming committee, but I’m sure he won’t mind other RTH’ers expressing a warm welcome either. hope you keep checking the site out! we’re a quirky bunch.

    geo, you are a man among men, with a fine pair of ears. yes, my man, the details, the details! this was the focus of my initial blurb.

    i mean, all these “sure, she can sing but….” comments are fine. clearly, i understand the sentiment, as you can see, beginning with “here’s where it gets complicated…”.

    but i think her vocal (and writing) talents go beyond the “sure, she can sing, but…” level. when was the last time we heard someone interpret a song with this much of her self.

    and geo, to answer your question (which i asked, too): yeah, the tragic behavior IS inextricably bound with some of the little things iin her performances that make all the difference. i DO think she’d be half the singer she is now if she was “healthy”.

    and yeah, i know, “who cares”, right? apparently, lots of people on this list, do, much moreso than the tunes.

    i’m surprised that NOBODY has commented on the lyrics of “me and mr. jones”, which i deliberately left unmentioned, just hanging out there for someone to pluck. are you guys even LISTENING to this stuff?

    “stray cats”? “harry connick jr.”?

    both of these parallels are based on a style oriented perception.

    we’ve had our fun with the image thing (a conversation which i deliberately invited) and the “personal problems thing” (also a conversation I invited, encouraged, etc.).

    but forget when these songs were made. no back story (fritz). like ’em? yay? nay?

    my ears are still astounded by some of the things i’m hearing in her voice.

    as i say in the initial post…”dig deeper”.

  35. Mr. Moderator

    Welcome aboard, Moi! We all welcome you, in no particular order. Looking forward to hearing more about this game of yours. Could be a good thread in itself.

    Saturnismine, I have not paid tremendous attention to the lyrics of that song yet. What are they, some highly original gender flip of the Billy Paul classic?

  36. saturnismine

    re. the lyrics, they’re pretty raw….

    and it’s not the rawness itself that’s worth noting…

    it’s that all these f-bombs (almost every phrase begins with “what kind of fuckery is this”…or “what kind of fuckery are we?”….and even the phrase “yadon’tmeanDICK-tah-me”), manage to sound so vintage.

    she’s not mumbling them either…they’re right out front…

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