Front Row, 8/2/11

Winehouse joins tragic 27 club

Amy Winehouse

I woke up on Saturday, July 23, and did what I do every morning – I checked Facebook.  At the top of my news feed I read the headline “Amy Winehouse, dead at 27.”  It’s not like I didn’t see it coming – the singer’s battles with addiction were made very public by the media.  But it cut deeply just the same.  I remember hearing her smash hit “Rehab” in 2007 and falling in love with her tinny voice and her strange blend of ‘60s girl group style mixed with a lyrical tapestry that painted a picture of a tortured life.  Most people only remember that song, but Back To Black was truly one of the best albums of the decade, influencing female artists from Lady Gaga to Adele. It’s a strange irony that the same media that catapulted her to stardom also contributed to her self-destruction.  She was the first female rock star of the digital age and in a mediascape of instant cheap thrills, Winehouse’s life became a negative feedback loop as she spiraled downward for the whole world to see.  Selfishly I guess, I wanted her to get clean so she could release just one more album — though I had my doubts and they were confirmed on that hot July morning. At least she’s escaped her pain.

— Benjamin Dale

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