In Case You Missed It: Amy Winehouse – Frank

by Yvette Travillian

It is somewhat difficult to do a post on Amy Winehouse without throwing in some sort of joke. I mean if you’ve seen any of the latest pictures of her on the blogs, it’s easy to speculate that Amy is perhaps still very much into her crackish ways.  She is usually spotted  somewhere –anywhere just looking straight blown out and unmotivated, and it’s very hard to fathom that she will soon be seriously back in the studio to make new music. So it’s good to have an album like Frank on hand, to be reminded of just how talented the kooky Brit is was and why music fans appreciate her music so much.

Frank, Amy’s debut album was released in the UK in 2003 and largely produced by the awesome Salaam Remi, who is known for lacing artists like The Fugees, Nas, and Jazmine Sullivan. The album which did well overseas and earned Amy wide recognition wasn’t released in the US until 2007 and that was only due to the extreme success of her sophomore LP, Back to Black, which has moved over two million units here in the states. Even after all of the hoopla over Amy’s second album, Frank still pretty much went unnoticed and has yet to sell even 500,000 copies in the US.

Everything about Frank is opposite of what you see of Amy 2010; from the album cover, which shows Amy (pre beehive & missing tooth) genuinely smiling in a cute (and clean) pink top, walking a dog looking relatively normal – to the music, which was predominately co-written by Amy herself. Her voice is refreshingly crisp and strong but at the same time sweet and youthful –a reminder that she was only 19 years old while recording this. The production is a blend of hip hop, jazz and R&B which Amy handles surprisingly well with some of the standout tracks being Take the Box,  What Is It About Men, Mr. Magic, F**k Me Pumps, Brother (which was a US only release) and, Stronger Than Me, which was her first single.

I can’t front, I too ignored this album for a long time; that is until my homegirl put me on to it sometime last year, and I’m glad she did. Although I thought Back to Black was decent, I wasn’t like super stoked over it and I’m thinking it was because it was 2006 and faux soulful- street talking white girls were everywhere (wait… they still are), and I just wasn’t in the mood for more; so although I was able to recognize Amy’s talent I just wasn’t ‘buying’ it.

But I really like Frank, and maybe it’s the cult feeling of the album that makes me appreciate it, or perhaps it’s because given Amy’s current state who knows if we’ll ever get to compare it to much else. Whatever the reason, Frank is a (sad) reminder that at some point in time Amy took her craft seriously and before the booze, drugs and wackiness took over she had immense probability  to succeed in the game. She is mad talented and able to creatively work well with diverse sounds and producers – which in a lot of cases could be a great advantage for an artist.

But damn… when you look at the pics (below) you can’t help but wonder if Amy is just going to remain in that ‘Lindsay Lohan realm of celebrity’ and rather being known for skill and solid work you’re better recognized as just another whack-out druggie who just couldn’t handle all that comes with success.  Only time will tell but for now (in case you missed it, or just need ro revist it) check out a few of the highlights from Frank after the break.

Amy Winehouse: The good, the Bad and the Blown Out


F___ Me Pumps

What Is It About Men

  • Jasmine

    The bottom middle picture, Keith Richards?

  • Stone

    Frank is, hands down, one of the best R&B Soul album of the decade and I will shout down anybody who disagrees. Back to Black had to grow on me, but there is nothing that could be said to knock Frank off its pedestal.

    The good news out of all of Amy’s troubles is that she’s found time to record with her old collaborator Salaam Remi in Jamaica for her next album. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • YTravillian

    Yeah, I’ve been hearing that she’s been in the studio in Jamaica and I’ve also seen some of the pictures of her while there… which still makes me slightly skeptical. I know her label is pushing her to stay focused and that’s kind of hard to be if you’re still on those rocks. Hopefully Salaam will be a huge motivating factor… and I also hear that everyone is working diligently to keep her ex husband Blake far, far away -lol. So I’m crossing my fingers for Amy!

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