Frank Explicit Lyrics
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With her debut album Frank, Amy Winehouse proved to an original, honest and brave singer/songwriter. The 13 songs comprise husky vocals with soft trumpets and laidback beats. With her fresh style, Winehouse introduced a new playful and arrogant side to soulful jazz in Frank.
It is rare for such a young performer to debut with such assurance, confidence and to such instant acclaim, but North London sensation Amy Winehouse already has a reputation that many far more seasoned artists would swap their gold discs for.
Winehouse combines a distinctive '20 a day' voice with a serious appreciation of female jazz & soul heroes (Sarah Vaughan's scatting style seeps through Amy's vocal ad-libs as well as getting a name check). She combines considerable jazz guitar ability with a classic approach which produces a contemporary, quirky, up front, tongue in cheek and risqué lyrics. Her version of the eternally hip jazz track "Moody's Mood For Love" which rides over a dub reggae rhythm demonstrates this attitude it looks back in order to know where its going and although in print this idea might raise a musical eyebrow in reality it sounds like a perfect partnership.
The first single "Stronger Than Me" contains all of these qualities and proves that jazz influenced contemporary soul neednt be safe or sullied by the dinner or 'smooth' prefixes.
Lyrically fresh and uncompromising, the only occasional weaknesses across the collection are the sometimes obtrusive programmed beats but recent radio & television appearances confirm that Winehouse live has a wonderfully organic sound that supports her approach well.
Amy's influences (Vaughan, Dinah Washington and the more contemporary like Badu et al) are obvious but not over powering and Winehouse has enough attitude, talent and chutzpah to make any comparisons fleeting and pointless. In fact on the delicious, lush and soulful "Put It In The Box" she out Badu's Erykah brilliantly using a similar female perspective on broken relationships to get her point across very directly.
This is Amy's first release and augurs well for her future. If this is what the young lady is capable of at such an early stage it must be pretty certain that this will be the first in a long line of well crafted, funky & feisty releases. --Greg Boraman
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Top Customer Reviews
Of the tracks featured on the bonus disc, only a handful are genuinely 'new', and all but one have been heard before in some form. Admittedly, that one unheard song - a cover of the Gershwin classic 'Someone to Watch Over Me' - is absolutely gorgeous, truly sounding like it could be a lost 1930s jazz club recording. The other demos are interesting to hear, and act as a timely reminder of how incredible Winehouse's vocal talent actually is. However, the remainder of the material isn't quite as exciting. 'What It Is' is described here as an 'original demo', but as far as I can tell, it's identical to the version used as a B-side on the single 'Stronger Than Me'. The remixes have all been featured on past singles, and I'm baffled as to why two mediocre B-sides have been included while the beautiful acoustic number 'Best Friends' - a fan favourite, and surely her best ever B-side - has been left out. The live tracks and radio sessions are nice, but even for hardcore fans, they're significantly less than thrilling.
It's hard not to feel that, in the absence of any new material from the troubled singer, this collection has been hastily cobbled together to capitalise on the success of 'Back to Black', not to mention Winehouse's continued tabloid notoriety.Read more ›
The music is primarily soul inflected jazz but also drawing on a host of other influences including funk and even blues. The musical arrangements are quite simple and sparse but atmospheric and effective. Amy Winehouse has a strong, husky voice which brings the songs to life and is able to convey feeling and strong emotion.
The songs chart the course of a failed relationship with a few other barbs thrown in for good measure. The lyrics, mainly written by Amy Winehouse herself, are personal, scabrous and occasionally very funny. The material has a refreshing emotional honesty spiced with arrogance, bile and spite but, fortunately, lacking in sentimentality or self-pity. The album is packed with great songs including the excellent 'Stronger than me' is a lament about the weakness of her over educated new man boyfriend; 'I Heard Love Is Blind' a confession/justification for her infidelity ('he looked liked you', 'I was thinking of you', 'it couldn't tell, it was dark and I was lying down'), 'F**k me Pumps', an attack on shallow party girls ('At least your breasts cost more than hers') amongst others.
Amy Winehouse has gained some notoriety through some entertaining, if loud mouthed, TV appearances (most notably on Never Mind the Buzzcocks) and some negative press coverage for her unladylike behaviour. She may not be the most appealing person in the world and clearly being her boyfriend carries some risks (unless you like being pilloried in song). However, this does not change the fact that she is a fantastic singer/songwriter.Read more ›
Other strong tracks include the witty F**k Me Pumps, which attacks those vacuous party girls who are famous for being famous ("Every week it gets worse/With your big empty purse/ At least your breasts cost more than hers" - miaow!); I Heard Love Is Blind, where she sings a hilarious confession of infidelity; and the simply beautiful (There Is) No Greater Love. Know You Now is the only song that I really don't like, probably because it seems a little bland compared to the others, but the rest of the album is fantastic and definitely benefits from repeat listenings.
I'd wholeheartedly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates soul/jazz, or fans of mainstream rnb who are looking for something a bit different. Amy Winehouse is a welcome antidote to all the manufactured pop 'music' that has invaded the airwaves thanks to the likes of Simon Cowell, and although she has been critically acclaimed and nominated at the Brit Awards, it seems a shame to me that she hasn't recieved more attention and airplay as she truly deserves it.
One niggle though. Why is it a good idea to make songs sound as if you're listening to a scratchy vinyl record? It's evident on four tracks: Stronger Than Me, Cherry, There Is No Greater Love, and parts of the 13-minute final track Amy Amy Amy. I had the same complaint with an Alicia Keys album, and there are many others. It's distracting and it just makes the whole listening experience less satisfying. What on earth is the point? I wish this 'fashion' would stop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What to say about the soulful voice of Amy Winehouse? Pure perfection, food for the heart. Two songs in, and I'm already in love with this album. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Sergio