Back to Black

Amy Winehouse has the kind of tough girl’s voice often associated with jazz singers of the past, women like Billie Holliday and Anita O’Day, with self-destruction in their lyrics, and in their DNA. Winehouse has done some really good covers of jazz standards like “Round Midnight” and “Moody’s Mood for Love” on earlier albums, and the current album, Back to Black, is well worth checking out. Her last name carries ironic overtones because it’s fairly clear from her bio and from her lyrics that she is on an alcoholic’s trajectory, committed to romanticizing and living out the story of the gifted artist who implodes early. In “Rehab,” she expresses her determination to resist all efforts toward getting her to stop drinking. It’s a song of youthful defiance that has lots of appeal for young men and women in bars, looking for additional reasons to continue living lives they have already come to suspect may not be good for them. This 23-year-old British singer has a long career ahead of her, if the same demons that have claimed so many of those who preceded her don’t claim Ms. Winehouse as well.