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Music / Back to Black

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"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said 'no, no, no'."

"We only said goodbye with words,
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to black."

Back to Black is the second studio album by singer Amy Winehouse, released in 2006. It was also the final studio album released during her lifetime.

Praised for its retro 1960s Motown sound and dark, emotive, gritty lyrics, it is one of the best selling albums of all time and during Winehouse's lifetime it sold over 20 million copies worldwide and also won numerous prestigious awards including five Grammy's (then more than any other British Artist had won in a single night). Back to Black was also credited with reviving both soul music and the stagnated British pop music scene. It was also credited with kick starting a third British invasion in America and for paving the way for a whole generation of eccentric female singer songwriters, including Adele, Emeli Sande, Duffy, Lady Gaga, Paloma Faith, Lana Del Rey, Jessie J, and Laura Mvula, all of whom have cited this album as a huge influence on their careers.

After Winehouse's tragic death in July 2011 the album shot to the top of the charts in many countries all over the world for a second time and even briefly became the best selling album of the 21st Century in the United Kingdom. It is currently the 13th highest selling album of all time in the United Kingdom and among the best selling albums of all time in many other countries around the world including in Germany, Austria and France where it is in fact the best selling album of all time.

Not to be confused with AC/DC's Back in Black.


  1. "Rehab" (3:35)
  2. "You Know I'm No Good" (4:17)
  3. "Me And Mr Jones" (2:33)
  4. "Just Friends" (3:13)
  5. "Back To Black" (4:01)
  6. "Love Is A Losing Game" (2:35)
  7. "Tears Dry On Their Own" (3:06)
  8. "Wake Up Alone" (3:42)
  9. "Some Unholy War" (2:22)
  10. "He Can Only Hold Her" (2:46)
  11. "Addicted" (2:46)

Bonus Disc (Deluxe Edition):

  1. "Valerie" (3:53)
  2. "Cupid" (3:49)
  3. "Monkey Man" (2:56)
  4. "Some Unholy War" (Down Tempo) (3:17)
  5. "Hey Little Rich Girl" (3:35)
  6. "You're Wondering Now" (2:33)
  7. "To Know Him Is To Love Him" (2:24)
  8. "Love Is A Losing Game" (Original Demo) (3:43)

My tropes dry on their own...

  • Album Title Drop: "Back To Black"
    You go back and I go back to black
  • Alliterative Title: "Back To Black", "Love Is A Losing Game".
  • Anti-Love Song: In "Love is a Losing Game" Winehouse has been so heartbroken she wishes she had never fallen in love in the first place.
  • Amen Break: Used in "You Know I'm No Good".
  • Badass Boast: "Rehab", in which Amy boasts she refuses to go to the rehab clinic.
  • Bar Brawl: In "You Know I'm No Good" :
    By the time I'm out the door
    You tear men down like Roger Moore.
  • Beehive Hairdo: Winehouse started to wear a variation of the Beehive during the production of Back to Black in order to reflect the influence of 1960s girl groups such as the Ronettes. It ended up becoming her signature look.
  • Break Up Song: "Back to Black", "Wake Up Alone", "Tears Dry On Their Own" and "Love is a Losing Game" are all about being left alone after a broken relationship and succombing into despair and depression.
  • Brutal Honesty: A trademark of Winehouse's music overall. On this album she sings about her alcoholism and her violent relationships.
  • Cover Version:
    • The Deluxe edition released in 2007 has covers of "Monkey Man", "To Know Him is To Love Him", "Hey Little Rich Girl", "You're Wondering Now", "Cupid" and most notably "Valerie".
    • Many of the most iconic tracks from "Back to Black" itself have also been covered by various artists including Bryan Ferry, BeyoncĂ©, Caro Emerald, Ronnie Spector, George Michael, Prince, Paulo Nutini, Bruno Mars, The Arctic Monkeys, Shannon Jones and Florence Welch.
    • "Rehab" and "Back to Black" were both covered on Glee, with "Rehab" being covered in the very first episode.
  • Crapsack World: Most of the songs on the album, but "You Know I'm No Good" deserves a special mention as Amy doesn't paint a pretty picture of anyone including herself.
  • Darker and Edgier: "Back to Black" is a considerably more grim and downbeat album than Winehouse's debut. It covers much darker subjects like depression, self harm, alcoholism and adultery.
  • Death by Irony: Few radio presenters or rock critics can mention the song "Rehab" without linking it to Winehouse's own drug-related death and mentioning the irony of it all.
  • Drunken Song: "Rehab", where Amy boasts how she doesn't need to go back to the rehab clinic.
  • Empty Shell: The main character in "Rehab" and "Back To Black", who is depicted as heartbroken and lonely and without any friends and as a consequence has turned to alcohol.
  • Face on the Cover: The cover shows Amy sitting on a chair against an empty background.
  • Follow the Leader: Back to Black is credited by many (including Adele, Duffy, Jessie J, Lady Gaga and Paloma Faith) with starting a major revival in both soul and British music around the world and for paving the way for a whole generation of eccentric, female singer songwriters.
    • Music Critic Alexis Petridis said when reviewing Laura Mvula's debut album "Sing To The Moon" that "hundreds of thousands of people nearly eight years after Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" keep buying albums made in its image".
    • Rolling Stone when including Back To Black on their list of 500 greatest albums said that Winehouse with Back To Black "triggered a new era for brilliantly weird women in pop".
  • Genre Roulette: Pop, Soul, R&B and even Reggae on the deluxe edition.
  • Genre Shift: Back To Black has Winehouse, formerly a Jazz singer, completely and utterly abandon Jazz in favour of Soul.
  • Iconic Outfit: Winehouse's beehive hairdo, black eye liner and tatoo's, though taken largely from the Ronettes it has now become more associated with her.
  • Love Hurts: "Love Is A Losing Game" even remarks that you can't win with relationships.
  • Name and Name: "Me & Mr. Jones".
  • New Sound Album: "Frank" was in Winehouse's own words "a straight Jazz album" whilst "Back to Black" is primarily a Soul album.
  • Ode to Intoxication: Somewhat subverted with both "Rehab" and "Back to Black" as both songs portray the protagonist as a lonely, miserable person who only drinks because they have nothing else in their lives.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Rehab" was based on Amy's own feelings towards being repeatedly sent to rehab clinics. At the time of the album's release she was already notorious as a drug and alcohol addictive wreck.
  • Sampling: "Tears Dry On Their Own" samples "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
  • Self-Deprecation: "You Know I'm No Good".
    I told you I was trouble, you know I'm no good.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: A strong theme for most of the album. "Rehab" and "Back to Black" are about Winehouse's struggles with alcohol, "You Know I'm No Good" and "Tears Dry on Their Own" are about affairs she was involved in whilst "Addicted" is about her friends boyfriend smoking all of her weed.
  • Shout-Out:
    I'd rather be at home with Ray.
    You tear me down like Roger Moore.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: In "Tears Dry on Their Own" the protagonist is presented this way as someone who was the other woman, but who got too attached. Less so in "You Know I'm No Good".
  • The Lad-ette: Amy portrays herself as someone who regularly sleeps around, has affairs with married men, smokes weed and drinks heavily on just about every song on the album.
  • Title Track: "Back To Black".
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: "Rehab" which was written about a period where she was drinking to drown her troubles and her management tried to force her to go to rehab. A few other tracks on the album were written about her break up with her then boyfriend Blake Fielder Civil such as "Love is A Losing Game".
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Two official remixes of "You Know I'm No Good" featured Ghostface Killah - One was sort of structured as a Call-and-Response Song, where each of Amy's verses were followed by a Ghostface rap in response, the other was a straighter example where the rapping was cut down to a short bridge near the end of the song. The latter version was also an unlisted bonus track on some editions of the album.