Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Song #42 of 9999 - Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse

Song #42 of 9999

Title: Tears Dry on Their Own
Artist: Amy Winehouse
Year: 2006
Album: Back to Black

Just read a review of the new posthumous release from Amy Winehouse. While it sounds like it might be okay, I don't know why anyone would spend any time listening to leftovers and cover songs when they could go back and listen to 2006's Back to Black. The album is an absolute masterpiece and, while it is obviously inspired by and borrows from 1960s soul and girl groups, it is really unlike anything else I have heard in my lifetime.

When an album is this good, it's sometimes difficult to pick a favorite track to feature, but in this case, it is so easy for me. "Tears Dry on Their Own" elicits an immediate response from me in a way few songs can. It's kind of hard to describe really. Maybe there is some nostalgia involved–the main groove is sampled from "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"–or maybe it's just that descending chromatic bassline against the wood-meets-metal rim clicks, but something magical happens as soon as the tracks begins. Then you hear the voice. The song is a perfect showcase for Winehouse's nasal lower register which resonates with regret as she tells the story of falling for a man who was only meant to be an affair. When the short little bridge at 1:36 begins with its pedal bass and rising backing vocals, you know something important is going to happen and when it comes (the word "blaze" at 1:41), it's an astonishing moment in the short and complicated career of an amazing artist.

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