Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So long, Amy Winehouse... We'll always have Poland.

I have never been a big fan of Amy Winehouse's music, even though I recognize her talent.  I guess I've just gotten to an age at which I no longer pay a lot of attention to up and coming artists.  I love music, but I'm not obsessed with it anymore.  So I'm not one of Amy Winehouse's adoring fans, but I have heard her music and like it well enough.

I was sorry to hear about her death over the weekend.  The first thing I thought of was the fact that she was just 27 years old, the same age Janis Joplin was when she died.  Janis Joplin is another one of those really famous and talented rock stars that I never was really attracted to.  But I can recognize her talent... like Jim Morrison's, Kurt Cobain's, and Jimi Hendrix's, three guys who also died at age 27.  Amy Winehouse is now a card carrying member of the "27 Club".

I first became exposed to Amy Winehouse's music in 2008.  My husband and I were living abroad and had decided to go to Poland for our anniversary.  We drove to an inn run by a British couple of Polish descent who had purchased an old dilapidated barn for about $4000 and renovated it into a cute little inn.  Their lobby was charmingly lit with awesome lamps made at the nearby Borowski studio and they played hip music by the Dixie Chicks and yes, Amy Winehouse.  There were other artists, of course, but those were the two that I still remember.

I remember Amy Winehouse's smoky alto voice in the restaurant area of the inn, her moody vocals echoing off the stone walls and floors.  I was struck by how retro the music sounded, yet it was still very stylish.  I also liked Amy for her unabashed crudeness.  Her song "Addicted", which I think must have been a bonus track on the European version of her album, Back to Black, never failed to crack me up.  The innkeepers played it many times during our visit.  I remember looking for the song after we got back from Poland and not being able to find it on the U.S. version of her album.  

Maybe in light of what happened to her, I shouldn't find the song funny... but any artist so unabashed singing about dicks is bound to make me laugh.

Actually, the one song that popped in my head when I heard Amy Winehouse had died was this one...

I actually never liked "Shooting Star" that much, but this particular version has made me rethink my feelings about it.  And I do think it fits Amy Winehouse's situation.

We had a surprisingly great time in Poland.  We spent five nights at the inn, with two nights on either side in Dresden and Prague.  Remembering that time, I wonder why we didn't spend a couple of days in Berlin, too.

Anyway, RIP Amy Winehouse.  I think a lot of us knew you were not long for the world.  A lot of us will miss your voice.  And I will always enjoy pleasant memories of Poland when I hear your music.

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