in memorium….

13 Feb

Last night when news broke about Whitney Houston’s death, the first thing I did was flash back to sitting (unbelted!!) in the trunk of my dad’s Blazer listening to my “Whitney” cassette, wondering what shocking things love could do, and whether I’d ever love this way again…. Then I snapped out of it and panicked, because I knew EXACTLY what was about to happen. Amy Winehouse was about to get the shaft. I’ve watched enough of these awards shows to know how it goes. The most recent “shocking” death is the last one that plays during the dead people montage (or as my mom and I like to call it, “the time of the night when we cry and reminisce like dorky dorks”) and then the musical tribute ensues. I knew it right away – Whit Whit was in. Winehouse was out. I imagined the quick conversation that took place with the producers…

“Well we’ve already got one Brit stealing the show… I’m sure nobody will notice.”

“That’s true, what’s the difference between the two of them anyway, they’re both shocking deaths that really aren’t shocking at all. Probably nobody will even miss the Amy Winehouse tribute, or notice when we move her photo and song snippet to first on the list, rather than the last, most important and special place.”

Not so, my producer friends. Here in shelbytown, we’re 1 Brit short of a complete Grammy production. So even though I totally love love love Whitney and I listened to her record all day today, (On a record player. Like with a needle.) I would have put Ms Winehouse last on the montage…..

I literally think about Amy Winehouse every day.

I miss her flaws and her anorexic sultriness. I obviously miss her music, that jazzy funky incomparable stuff. I try to imagine her evolution if she didn’t drink herself to death. Who would she have turned into? What songs would she cover? What other producers and artists would she infuse her style with? Who is going to adopt and adapt her style and build an entirely new genre off of it? This is literally what I do every single day. And I’ve got a sick obsession with Spotify, so that doesn’t really help things.

I don’t want to take anything away from Google and Shaazam, because without them my Spotifying would be void of any real depth. The first for use with random status updates lots of you put up where it looks like an original thought but really it’s just a Bieber/Jay Z/Beatles lyric that you think was written about you. The second for identifying catchy tunes in Abercrombie/the sushi place/every Volkswaagen commercial there is.

But Spotifying really makes every good new song or artist turn into a spiderweb. During my Amy Winehouse scavenging (It’s My Party cover, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Mark Ronson, Fitz & the Tantrums…) I cruised through the Tony Bennett duets album (not quite a fan of Tony Bennett, but whatever). And there’s Gaga (and Tony too, but not as memorably) crooning the hell out of “The Lady is a Tramp.” I mean, I always kind of liked Gaga (other than when she gets caught in a fishing line and shows up at the Grammys) Like I get it. I’m into her shtick. I support the methodical strangeness that she’s using to take over the world (along with Brad and Angie and Ryan Seacrest). But I don’t think I ever gave her enough credit as an actual musician. Showman, yes. Duh. But vocally educated jazz lady? Didn’t even cross my mind. So now I keep ” You and I” on my work playlist and I’m thanking heavens for Gaga, who is the new person who Somebody Wants to Dance With, and it’s all thanks to Amy Winehouse that I know this.

Back to the fishing net over Gaga’s face, do you think when she was singing along to “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” with the Beach Boys up on stage with their old man jeans and baseball hats and no meat attached to them and a career spanning decades (centuries, by the looks of them… just saying…) do you think she’s wishing that she could have relied on her talent a little more than her showmanship?

Anyway, all I wanted is for SOMEONE to say they miss Amy, and since they didn’t, I’m now going to have to devote every Sunday to my questionable yet highly evolved musical taste. So consider this the first of many Spotify Sundays. And no, I don’t get paid by Spotify. Yet.


RIP WH & AW (If this were an awards show I’d have Adele, Beyonce and Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland perform “You Know I’m No Good” right about now…)


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