The story of Back to Black is one in which celebrity and the potential of commercial success threaten to ruin Amy Winehouse, since the same insouciance and playfulness that made her sound so special when she debuted could easily have been whitewashed right out of existence for this breakout record. (That fact may help to explain why fans were so scared by press allegations that Winehouse had deliberately lost weight in order to present a slimmer appearance. ) Although Back to Black does see her deserting jazz and wholly embracing contemporary R&B, all the best parts of her musical character emerge intact, and actually, are all the better for the transformation from jazz vocalist to soul siren.
North London's Amy Winehouse is putting the soul back in R&B with the help of New York's Dap-Kings (as in Sharon Jones) and a bottle of whiskey. The Jewish phenom has been churning waves (and tabloids) overseas since the release of her 2003 debut, Frank. Now the 23-year-old's addictive "Rehab" is poised to join the modern grit of Macy Gray with the latter-day growl of Shirley Bassey.