Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Death of a Legend

So much has happened since the death of one of the greatest soul singers of my, and arguably anyone's, generation, I find myself only now sitting down to write a bit about what Amy Winehouse and her music meant to me.

It’s a mistake often made I think, to assume that because of the populist style of her music, and her public image, there wasn’t actually a great deal to her as an artist or a person. I actually think there was a great deal more to her than people generally believe. Yes, people praise her music but I often wonder whether, if she hadn't been such a master of the hook and many a catchy lyric, she would in fact have been as popular as she was. For me and many others, she was so much more talented than just this. She really could write, with lyrics which were bare and bold in equal measure, and a voice which had quality and individuality so rarely heard.

When I heard she’d died it wasn’t just sadness of the loss of such a great artist which troubled me so much, or even her extreme vulnerability which always seemed to mark her out from the rest of the pack – in the end tragically. In fact it was largely I think the memories her music brought back, and the idea that when she died that music and those memories went with her. The fact that she was a Londoner and I only really began to listen to her when I moved to the capital was of real significance – while so much about the city and its culture failed to inspire me, here was a sensational, unique person who was born here and I could relate to. It meant a great deal to me.

To reflect on her death with sadness though doesn’t really serve any purpose. She was a troubled soul, and despite opinions to the contrary, clearly unable to fight her demons and cope with everyday life. When I listen to her now, it serves only to remind me of this fact - but instead of being sad I remember it was this which made her special.