Written on: 23/02/2004 by 321sshrah123 (2 reviews written)
An album for you if you like all things:
New, Fresh, Sassy, Chic, Cool
Not an album for you if you do not like all things:
new, fresh, sassy, chic, cool...
Amy Winehouse - Frank
I first came across Amy Winehouse when I was browsing through the 'coming soon' section of Windows Media Player. There was a short audio clip from a "new up-and-coming artist", so I decided to play the clip on repeat while checking my e-mails. However, I was surprised to learn that even after a full twenty minutes I had still been listening to the same two minute clip... that means ten times in a row! This immediately told me two things: one, I need to get my ears checked! And two, Ms Winehouse took/takes/will take easy-listening to a whole other level.
I can not disagree with any of the comments from the sticker on the front cover: 'A colossal vocal talent', 'One of the most impressive British debuts in years', 'Stunning debut'. If you like 'easy on the ear' albums, I would definitely recommend this. Of course, if you are a sucker for female voices I'd also recommend Dido (what's that... you've already got it... no surprises there), Katie Melua (Closest thing to Crazy...), Norah Jones (Go away With Her) and someone whom I think is under-rated Emiliana Torrini (Love In the Time of Science).
I do not go out of my way to sit down and actively listen to an album. Instead, I prefer to play it in the background. So, when I buy an album I will play it from start to finish, reading a book while it is playing. If the album flows one should not be able to tell how many tracks are on the album - it should seem like one long music fest. But, for me, if it is not a good album it won't flow. (It is surprising how well this method works. Try it... it really does work!)
I enjoy listening to albums like this i.e. albums that are albums rather than a collection of singles. Albums like this seem to have been lost over the years (listen to me... I'm sounding like an old fogey!). Albums like this flow like a story, like a story there is always a distinct underlying theme. But that does not mean that there is the same old fare for every track, afterall all good stories have a change of pace, and this is true of 'Frank'.
When I first heard the album, there were definitely some tracks that stood out straight away. I immediately recognised 'Stronger Than Me' - it was the song that I had heard on Windows Media Player. (I just wish I could play the chorus on repeat again and again...). 'F**k Me Pumps' is probably responsible for the 'Parental Guidance Advisory' sticker on the front of the album. But, don't let this put you off this sassy dig at gold-digging women. It definitely requires a second listen to appreciate the lyrics: 'without girls like you there'd be no fun, we'd go to the club and not see anyone, without girls like you there'd be no nightlife all those men just go home to their wives' (ouch!). 'In My Bed' and 'Take The Box' are sure to become classics in their own right. (Info just for fans: 'Take The Box' actually has the title 'Frank' in the lyrics; again, Ms Winehouse may be teasing us as to the real meaning behind the title of her album i.e 'Good Will Hunting'-style).
However, on listening to the album a couple of times there was one track that really stood out. But, whenever I tried to find it I had no luck! When I finally came across the track on listening to the album again I noted down its location. I discovered that it is a hidden track!! It does not have its own track number, it is not listed on the back of the album but it has its own separate lyrics section in the accompanying album sleeve. It is actually located in track 2 (5 minutes and 15 seconds into track 2... to be exact!). The track is called 'Cherry'. It is probably hidden because it is a short track but I like to think of it as a hidden gem - perhaps one of my favourite tracks on the album. 'Her name is Cherry. We just met. But, already she knows me better than you'. Even the most cynical amongst you will have a smile on your face after this song. The vocals on this track I think epitomise the whole album, Ms Winehouse is best when she just lets her voice go and is as the album states 'frank' with her lyrics.
I am always so worried for artists such as Ms Winehouse because they have such an impact on their debut, they are so new and so fresh, one has to ask where can they go from here on in? However, perhaps I am being a bit presumptuous... afterall Dido's doing alright. ;o)
As debuts go this is phenomenal.
As albums go this is awesome.
I for one am looking forward to what Ms Winehouse comes up with next.
Hope you enjoyed the review and found it helpful.
Whatever album you decide to buy I hope it's the right one for you.