Sunday, July 24, 2011

...she was different, and she could have been great...maybe she was...

I'll admit that I'm not qualified to write this, because she's not of my generation, I know next to nothing about her, and I'd never heard her until I visited YouTube the day after she died (yesterday, July 24th). I'd been aware she'd had all kinds of trouble, I'd seen her name in the headlines and in various stories on the internet, most of them indicating she had drug problems. I'm 57; she died at 27. My knowledge of music tails off after the late '80s/early '90s. But I had to find out what she was all about, and while I'll never know that much about her, I did dial up some of her music on YouTube. I don't even know enough to memorize her song titles, but she made an impression on me, and like most all things of a pop-culture nature, it might not make sense, but I'll give it a go...

AMY WINEHOUSE reminds me of a lot of self-absorbed musicians of My Day. Now when I say 'self-absorbed', I don't mean 'narcisstic'; it's just that she took music and did it her own way, and if her stage performances are any indication, she was totally in her own world, and shared that with her fans. It's sort of a Jim Morrison (The Doors) thing, where she'd stare into space, all the while looking deeply within to a secret place, and as a result, she was an oddly fascinating singer. She reminds me a little of Van Morrison, who also crawled deep within himself in order to bring out what was within him and anyone who sees Van Morrison knows he's different, on a level that requires hard listening. Ms. Winehouse had that intangible something; I don't know how to label it, but it's easy to see in her performances.

Artists like this are compelling; they draw you in, and at the same time, make you visit deep places within your own soul. Amy's music reminds me of Janis Joplin's "Kozmic Blues Band" period, in which she got funky with a horn section backing her, and as we all know, Janis was certainly compelling in her day. I wish it weren't so, but certain artists are just self-destructive. Janis was, Amy was, and no matter how those people get to the place where their lives end, we all lose something when people like this pass away. Had I been younger, reaching maturity in This Generation, Amy is someone I definitively would have placed among my favorites. It's a shame she had to die before I heard any of her music, and although I've only heard a few of her songs, I could tell that she was For Real. I'm sure fans in Great Britain, along with Americans that paid attention to her, have suffered a great, great loss in the music world.

We've been thru this before, and I wish we could learn from the past, but I don't have any idea as to what makes certain artists the way they are, to end up being suicides, conscious or otherwise. The age of 27 has claimed more than its share of performers. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Kurt Cobain. And now Amy Winehouse. Jim Morrison basically drank himself to death, although it's rumored there was heroin in his system when he was found in the bathtub. Janis was also drunk, buzzed and stoned a lot of the time. She accidentally overdosed; she didn't know the heroin she was sold almost Pure, not 'cut' heroin. But it's nice to know Van Morrison is still alive and singing his heart out, just in case you wondered. So that's a positive thing. He's an artist I still don't understand and believe me, I've tried.

I wish we could go back in time and somehow make things better for these tortured artists who give so much of themselves to us. There are so many who've died by their own hand, and each time it happens, it's a tragedy. And although I'd never heard Amy Winehouse until now, her death is a tragedy. It just is. I hope she's at peace now.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home