time to change the way we view music and the arts

Far Away, I Remember Life is Fleeting

There are very few occasions when I find myself away from a computer for more than a day or two, let alone for over a week. The times and their blatant need for constant connected interaction becomes ever so apparent when you ‘plug back in’ after such a hiatus, per se.

I have been away overseas for the past 12 days and on one of the last couple of nights, my traveling friend casually asks me,

“So did you hear about Amy Winehouse? She died.”

It would be an understatement to say I was shocked. Not necessarily because of what actually happened, but because I hadn’t known and the story had already broken onto the internet for almost an entire day and I had been completely oblivious to news that, at the very least, caused an abrupt jolt in the international music scene.

Following my own moment of stunted hesitation, it was then that my mind had the space to stop and think about the news itself. Without becoming too philosophical or personal, I have to say, the way things fall in place around each other for some people and not for others really makes you contemplate the way our choices really affect us. In a case like this, a small piece of side reflection I take away is the reminder that you can’t pin a person’s choice of genre with their lifestyle or “expected decorum” potentially attached therein. For example, Eminem, has also struggled with multiple issues surrounding drugs, violence and drinking and his raw, piercingly honest raps have been playing on stereos and iPods for years and it would make you wonder if any of Eminem’s demons would come to get him at any given moment, seeing as how volatile things were portrayed to the public in tandem with aggressive raps based on personal experience. His latest 2011 release, “Recovery,” does speak very adeptly to the aversion from addiction. Nonetheless, if something were to suddenly happen; a relapse, a spontaneously volatile night, etc. although it would certainly cause massive buzz of tragedy and sadness, would there be a well of surprise to match? Something about the less sweet and appealing nature of Eminem’s work just seem to make a “what if” comparison come away less confounding. In all fairness, such a perception is somewhat stereotyping, though, because of that I observe and learn something about my own thinking and reception of music, which is never a bad thing.

Amy Winehouse had a steadily cruising career going for her; across numerous nations, genres and age groups. Her music brought fun times and catchy sing-a-longs to plenty of people on drives, in offices, clubs, bedrooms… I could go on. The point is, people appreciated her career and her talents. For a musician that had well already addressed her existing drug and drinking problems with her fan base and the general public, openly writing and talking about her struggles –notably with the hit single, “Rehab” off her second studio album, “Back to Black,” it is almost impossible to ignore the unfortunate coincidence in her death. At this moment, official reports are unavailable but the Christian Post writes HERE, “Reports emerged over the weekend from friends and some witnesses that Winehouse had bought a cocktail of drugs, and had been heavily drinking in the hours before her death. “

Contrary to the unsurprising nature of a possible death from addiction, what is somewhat unexpected, is just how much the backlash of Winehouse’s passing would shake up sales across two continents. The New York Times writes HERE about the flashing surge of album sales that flooded the US and British charts over the weekend and into this morning’s calculations.

In Britain, where the weekly sales reporting period runs Sunday to Saturday, only about seven hours remained in the week after news of Ms. Winehouse’s death broke. “Back to Black,” the 2006 album that made her a global star, re-entered the British album chart at No. 59, with 2,446 albums sold, an increase of 299 percent from the week before, according to the Official UK Charts Company. …In the United States, “Back to Black” quickly shot to No. 1 on iTunes’s album sales ranking, and as of Monday morning remains there.

As information keeps evolving the story and the explanations come around, regardless of what the cause, it’s obvious that unlike her quiet last moments, Amy Winehouse’s gifts to the music industry did not and will not be slipping away with a breeze or a whimper anytime soon.

Rest in Peace Amy Winehouse. Your music will keep playing and people will keep listening to a unique voice and spirit that will be missed.

Amy Winehouse – Rehab

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS