Sunday, July 12, 2015
I think most people are aware of the ill-fated 27 Club which includes: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and quite a list of other lesser known musicians, all of whom died at the age of 27. British jazz artist, turned pop sensation, turned tabloid joke, Amy Winehouse joined the 27 Club July 23, 2011. And like many of the others, never managed to tame personal demons and the downside of fame before leaving the world; yet leaving an indelible impression in a short life span of time; and leaving us to wonder how much more would she have contributed musically, if having reached 28. - Le Anne Lindsay, Editor
Amy Humanizes the Artist and Legitimizes Her ArtBy Mikhail Revlock
Rarely does a music documentary pack the emotional wallop of Asif Kapaida’s AMY. The self-destructive rock star is such a familiar cliché; the news of Amy Winehouse’s alcohol-induced death circulated with a dull feeling of inevitability. Inured to the fatalistic antics of the embattled chanteuse, few batted an eyelid when paramedics carted her lifeless body out of her Camden home. By 2011, she was better known for her debauched lifestyle than her music.
Kapaida’s documentary succeeds in simultaneously humanizing the artist and legitimizing her art. Early home videos reveal the singer’s passion, whimsicality, and wit, strengths that were already dissipating by the time Winehouse entered the public eye. The linear arrangement of the footage emphasizes the stark nature of her transformation. Though she abused substances for most of her life, these pre-stardom clips exhibit a functional alcoholic whose love for music remained the most powerful antidepressant in her arsenal.
Anyone who dismissed Winehouse as a novelty act will come away from Amy with a newfound appreciation for her musicianship. For every song she recorded, there were dozens that she penned and rejected. She believed that great music was the product of emotional honesty, and she scoffed at pop music that was obviously composed by teams of industry songwriters. She was a consummate jazz aficionado, enamored with Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington. Her desire for musical expression was pure, unbiased (as much as possible) by the allure of fame and fortune.
When these seductive forces finally intersected with her life in 2006, they played as pivotal a role in Winehouse’s downfall as the nefarious men in her social/professional circle. Numerous scenes follow her as she steps out of her car only to be assaulted at all angles by the blinding flashbulbs of the paparazzi. As word of her troubles spreads, we see the same late night hosts who championed her rise take cheap shots at her expense. A friend relates that Winehouse said she would take back all her success if she could walk down the street in peace.
That said, it is unlikely that many moviegoers will discount the combined impact of Mitch Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil on Winehouse’s fate. The former, her father, abandoned their family when she was nine and conveniently reappeared as she started making a name for herself. The latter, her husband, inspired such infatuation that she longed to mirror him in every way: if he smoked crack, she smoked crack; if he cut his arm with a bottle, she cut her arm with a bottle.
her substance problems.
Both of them made a living from her misery.
T &T's LAMB Score: 4.5 outta 5
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