When I first heard the news about Amy Winehouse‘s passing (on Twitter, naturally), the comment that stood out most was one by Winehouse herself in an interview that the singer had done a few years ago with my former Entertainment Weekly colleague Chris Willman. In it, Winehouse jokingly made a prediction that, in hindsight, isn’t very funny at all.
In 10 years, she said, “I’ll be dead in a ditch, on fire.” Sadly, for her many fans who had rode shotgun as she drove down the path of self-destruction, the “dead” part of her premonition was no joking matter. It was a distinct possibility, if not a certain probability, and one that came to pass on July 23, when Winehouse, who had infamously battled drug and alcohol addiction and had been in and out of rehab in recent years, was found dead in her London home.
The first thing I thought, after spending a moment to grieve for her family and loved ones, was that the world would be cheated out of so much great music. With Back to Black, her 2006 breakthrough album, Winehouse did so much more than show great promise. Hers already was a talent in full bloom. Back to Black was destined to go down as one of the all-time masterpieces. I was living in Buenos Aires at the time of its release, and I knew people who didn’t speak a word of English who could recite every line from every song.
It’s better to burn out than fade away. Live fast, die young. Leave a beautiful corpse. We’ve also all heard the one about how dying (especially before one’s time) is the best career move. I don’t know how beautiful Winehouse’s corpse will be, but she is guaranteed a spot in the pantheon of musical greats who left the party too soon.
Chillingly, she’ll be right beside the musical icons that she seemed to want to emulate most: Janis Joplin, a blue-eyed soulful precursor to whom she was often compared; Jimi Hendrix; Jim Morrison; and Kurt Cobain, all of whom died when they were the same age as Winehouse. If ever there were an unlucky number, it would have to be 27.
Unlike the legends who preceded Winehouse to an early grave and left behind so much incredible, indelible music, Winehouse bequeathed us with relatively few musical gifts. There are her two albums, 2003’s Frank and Back to Black, as well as a handful of one-off guest appearances on other people’s songs (Mark Ronson, Quincy Jones, and Tony Bennett, whose Duets II album in September will feature Winehouse). Sadly, her final impression will be a June concert in Belgrade, Serbia in which the apparently bombed singer stumbled and slurred her way through a few songs before being booed off the stage.
She had reportedly been working on new music for years, and at one point, was said to be on the verge of working with Roots drummer ?uestlove and producer/performer Raphael Saadiq on a project that had been delayed because of Winehouse’s trouble securing a U.S. travel visa due to her 2007 drug arrest for marijuana possession in Norway. So from here to eternity, all we’ll have to remember Winehouse by will be masterpieces of melancholy like “Love Is a Losing Game” and “Tears Dry on Their Own.” We’ll sing along, we’ll cry, we’ll look for clues to what was going on inside her troubled mind, to figure out why she was such a lost soul.
For you I was a flame
Love is a losing game
Five story fire as you came
Love is a losing game
From this day forth, Winehouse’s world-weary look of love will make Adele’s 21 sound like feel-good music. Speaking of Adele, Winehouse should have been where the “Rolling in the Deep” singer is now, reaping continued financial and critical benefits after a first rush of success. Now who’s going to fill her f**k me pumps (to quote the title of one of her early songs)?
Surprisingly, for all of her Grammys, accolades and albums sold, Winehouse only had one single resembling a hit in the U.S., “Rehab,” which went to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. I’ll never again be able to listen to the song in quite the same way, as a statement of bad-ass defiance. Now it will just sound like the words of a sad, desperate woman in denial and on the brink of collapse. If only she’d taken their advice.
In this post, we won’t discuss Nordic folkloric music, but rather explore a cool and innovative project by composer and multimedia artist Helge Krabye. We are talking about Homeless Balloon, an act that features chillout music inspired by electronica, world fusion and a touch of jazz and rock from the ’70s.
Sounds interesting right?
The truth is, Homeless Balloon is a truly unique musical experience that any world music lover needs to know. Krabye is a multitalented artist who has written the original music for more than seventy television documentaries, radio plays, fantasy stories and art projects.
Here on OurStage, Homeless Balloon is slowly but surely taking the stage on the World Channel. Krabye’s song China Main Theme from the album Mysterious China is a truly unique chillout piece that blends world fusion with electronica. Play this song and you’ll immediately experience that relaxing sensation that only a well-performed melody can do.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Homeless Balloon is that it isn’t limited to a certain geographical place. For this artist, true inspiration can come from Norway, China or even Russia. Such is the case with Krabye’s piece Kamtjatka, inspired in a wild island in the northern part of East Russia.
Another interesting song by Homeless Balloon that reflects its internationalization is African Landscape, a piece that Krabye describes as a collage of impressions and musical images inspired by the nature and people of Africa.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s jump on a homeless balloon and get to know the world through the ears of Helge Krabye. Travel has never been easier or more fun. Bon Voyage!
Gordon Pinsent reads excerpts from Justin Bieber memoir
Get your LOLs right here, folks. First up, a memoir written by a 16-year-old. Ha! And, it’s entitled First Step 2 Forever. The laughs don’t end there. Here’s a video of the esteemed actor Gordon Pinsent doing a dramatic reading of Justin Bieber’s riveting tome. Enjoy”we did.
Alicia Keys gives birth to Egypt
Not the country! That would be sooo 3150 BC. Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean) welcomed a baby boy this week named Egypt Dauode Dean. May he grow up to become a very successful pharaoh.
Glastonbury Festival shelved for 2012 due to toilet shortage
We wouldn’t wish more port-a-potties on anyone, but this does give us pause. England’s Glastonbury Festival has been canceled for 2012 due to the Olympics taking place in London that same year ¦ and the ensuing toilet shortage. Athletes are such loo-sers.
Kanye’s album cover art banned? He wishes.
Kanye West is a legend in his own mind. But he may also be a victim in his own mind as well. The rapper griped on his Twitter page that Wal-mart had censored the cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tweeted the rapper: So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they [sic] cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings. Oh the injustice! Is it too much to ask for a man to be left in peace with his armless polka dot monster? IS SOCIETY SO INTOLERANT”what’s that? Wal-mart didn’t censor the cover? Oh. Uh, never mind. As you were.
Cantankerous singer pegs bottle at Mumford and Sons
Mark E. Smith of the band The Falls was getting ready for his set at a Dublin music festival when a terrible caterwauling struck his ears. Next door, the hugely successful English folk band, Mumford and Sons, was warming up. I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers, Smith explains. So, understandably, he threw a bottle at them to encourage them to silence their plaintive yawping. The bottle fell short of its target and Mumford and Sons went on to sell one trillion records.
- Robyn releases Bodytalk Pt. 3 cover and track list
- Lil Wayne hits Number 1 with I am Not A Human Being
- Kanye West screens Runaway for US fans
- Caleb Followill guest judges on Iron Chef
- Stereophonics drummer dies in a terrible way
- Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel perform at a Seattle Mariners game
- Willow Smith releases Whip My Hair video
- MTV can’t tell the difference between Black Eyed Peas and Black Keys
- Lady Gaga tweets about studio sessions in Norway
- There is a band named Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Rock and theater have always been ardent bedfellows, ever since The Rocky Horror Picture Show did the time warp and Meatloaf did anything for love. Broadway has delivered countless rock musicals from anonymity to mainstream consciousness, from Jesus Christ Superstar to Hedwig and The Angry Inch. The aforementioned Meatloaf along with KISS and Alice Cooper took their rock to operatic heights during the ˜70s and inspired recent theater kids like My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco to update the rock opera canon with youthful sensibilities.
When you think of Daddysmilk, consider them as equals to MCR and PATD. Hailing from Manchester, UK by way of Norway, the band churns out fantastically cheeky rock with a theatrical sweep. There’s plenty of dissonance and distortion “ guitars careen herky jerky to the raucous stomp of drums. Singer Kris Zeigler teases, mocks and croons like a rakish pied piper, beckoning listeners to follow him through his tales and character sketches. Surrender now, and you’ll find yourself doing anything for Daddysmilk’s deliciously melodic rock drama. (But you won’t do that.)