Amy Winehouse was fantastic. She was a brilliant artist whose long awaited 3rd album sadly never came. It would have been excellent. What she did produce in her short career was staggering and I still think she’s underrated. (Can you tell I’m a fan of Miss Winehouse yet? If you are too, you might like my 10 favorite Amy Winehouse moments.)
After a bit of a delay, Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby is finally coming out, and with it, a brilliant soundtrack. My problem with Lurhmann is that he’s always style over substance but that’s like saying my problem with the ocean is that it’s always wet. You expect these things. What one doesn’t expect is a soundtrack for 1920’s era The Great Gatsby to be composed of Lana Del Rey (awesome), the xx (awesome), Florence + The Machine, (awesome), Jack White (awesome), and will.i.am. and Fergie (awe–oh wait, no, this):
And then there’s Beyoncé. Beyoncé is going to cover Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” for the soundtrack.
I’m not going to go Michael Scott “NO” gif crazy on this, but the whole thing dismays me, like when a friend cancels on your plans 30 minutes before they’re supposed to happen but ends the text with a sincere, “I’m sorry girl I’m just in a really bad place right now xoxo” and you want to be angry and you have every right to be and you want answers but it’s not worth blowing out of proportion. That’s how I feel about this. There is no reason to Beyoncé-ify Amy Winehouse. Yeah, there’s no reason to cover any song, right, I get that. Sometimes song covers surprise you, like when Cake covered “I Will Survive” and sometimes they horrify you, like when Barbra Streisand covered “Life On Mars.”
But honestly, this seems stupid. I can understand why Lurhmann would want to use this song in his film; the lyrics and darkness of the song really relate to some of the themes in The Great Gatsby, with lines like,
And life is like a pipe / And I’m a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside
We only said goodbye with words / I died a thousand times
one thinks of the desperation Gatsby had to fit in and the desire Daisy had to be with him, but how in the end, despite all our efforts, all of our rolling up within our own walls, all of our inabilities to properly express our feelings, all of our empty goodbyes,
…we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
(YEAH! How’s that for an analysis, Ms. Pavliscak? That would have been a good paper, huh?)
The song is Winehouse. Her voice, her delivery, her pain, her signature jazz style, it’s all in there, it’s already perfect. It cannot be topped, it cannot be improved. Yes, I could be premature on this, absolutely. I haven’t heard Beyonce’s version yet. But I’m saying it regardless. It isn’t that Beyonce isn’t a good singer or artist. It’s that she’s not Amy Winehouse. There is only one, and she’s gone, and I don’t want to let her go.
Amy Winehouse photo by NRK P3 via Flickr.