Donald Brackett, music journalist and author of Back to Black: Amy Winehouse’s Only Masterpiece, share his take on writing the book and the kind of artist that Amy was. Take a look at the video below.
In Back to Black: Amy Winehouse’s Only Masterpiece, Donald Brackett presents an incisive and fascinating study of Winehouse’s second, and final, studio album.
It was both a joy and a challenge to do the research for this book. One of the pleasures was in discovering, in the research, that Amy Winehouse didn’t just drop out of space from nowhere. She’s the most contemporary exponent of a long tradition. And although it was challenging to live in her music, for a very long time, I definitely appreciate the opportunity to explore it and share it with readers.
Brackett fully considers Winehouse’s legacy ten years after her multi-Grammy winning album – exploring the origins of a global cultural phenomenon by examining her roots as a storyteller; studying her swift arrival as a demonic pop diva; the crucially important creative role played by her gifted producers in the studio; the historical musical influences on her style; the soul magic of her superb backup band, the Dap-Kings; her live performance style onstage; and her magnetic public image as a video star. Back to Black is also examined, song by song, in an appreciation of its status as a true pop-art artifact.
Ten years after the album was produced and created, it still has a fishiness that I don’t this is going to go away in the future. And I believe that if we can divorce the soap opera from her story and bring out the musical history that she brings to life, I think we’ll a be much better for it.
Along the way, he opens the door not only to the full experience of this remarkable record, but also explores the seductive sonic hook that pop artists always strive for and unearths what makes the record unique, influential, and unforgettable. He reveals the creative steps in its inception and production, the technical virtuosity that makes it special, and why it deserves to be considered a pop classic.
In a strangely alluring way, there’s everyone else in pop music, and then there’s her.
Back to Black: Amy Winehouse’s Only Masterpiece is a book about Amy Winehouse’s music and the music that inspired it; it is not about the problems or flaws that caused them. His book reminds us that it’s the songs that make up Back to Black which go far beyond our potentially prurient fascination with the unique singer’s early demise five years ago and instead bring vibrantly to life the surprising pop majesty she personified.
If you love Amy Winehouse as much as I do, I hope this book will help you get a grip on the history that informed it.