Mostly the Voice

As promised I've been trying to get up on Amy Winehouse. Like most of the world, I dig Back to Black. I'm less of a Frank fan, but I need to give it a few more rotations before I'm certain. 


What I most enjoy is the sheer confidence in her Winehouse's voice, and the utter lack of ornamentation. This is the era of divas. The world heard Aretha, and then every Beyonce and Mariah had to be an athlete. Surely it's a style which some of my favorite artists employ--Teena Marie for instance. But there was something else with Sheila, something fearsome that came with the athletics.  

I've never heard Mariah sing and lost sight of the fact that she's working. I've rarely watched Beyonce and thought the she made it look easy. The architecture is indeed impressive, but it's all out there for you to see. 

Winehouse wasn't really interested in superfluous vocal runs. She's not shuffling for you. She has nothing to prove. She can sing, You know it. She knows it. So why the pretense? 


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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