Warning: This will hurt, but kindly access your memory banks and retrieve two commercials: "Seagram's golden wine coooolers/They're wet and they're dry/My my my" and that heinous Chili's bit not the faux doo-wop tune but the smoky blues number "Chili's ... baby back riiiiiiibs ..." Got 'em? Good because a sizable chunk of Back to Black, Amy Winehouse's sophomore disc, sounds like those very jingles: white people copping black soul in order to sell booze and ribs. Oh sure, the sassy Brit babe who loves to party tabloid-style has a robust set of pipes, an alleged eating disorder, and sexy lyrics about love gone wrong. Whatever. Songs like "You Know I'm No Good," "Me & Mr. Jones," and "Wake Up Alone" are nothing more than cheap retro-R&B novelties. There's the supper-club rip, the neo-Motown jam, the jazzy Ella thing, and so on which is fine for selling soul food to suburban mall-walkers or for titillating the country that gave us Eric Burdon. But may I suggest you save your hard-earned cash for a deluxe reissue of Etta James at Last!, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You?, or Diana Ross?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.