The tragic passing of Amy Winehouse is one that still hurts fans to this day, even over a decade on from her departure. After all, she was a truly timeless artist that single-handedly reinvented what a modern pop star had to be, and her debut album Frank set a precedent.
As the years pass on from her death, tragically, it becomes clearer what a mercurial talent Winehouse was, and this isolated vocal from ‘Stronger Than Me’ is utterly mesmeric and iron-clad proof of her skill. She had only just turned 20 when her first album arrived, and for someone that young to deliver an album of such beauty, but more staggeringly wisdom, is a testament to her unparalleled talent.
‘Stronger Than Me’ is the stand-out track from that effort, and the song sees her kick out at her then-boyfriend, who was considerably older than her. Despite the age difference, Winehouse found herself being the boss in the relationship. Winehouse always had this grit to her personality that was beyond her years. She expressed it eloquently on this number, where she shared her frustrations at her partner not having the same headstrong mindset.
“I was just writing songs from my heart like I always have and always will,” she reflected on Frank to Hot Press in 2004. I didn’t think about people hearing them, I just wrote what I would like to hear a girl singer sing. I’m a real girly girl, but when it comes to music I’m a real serious person, it’s the most important thing in my life. I’m proud and strong-willed. There is no point in compromising yourself.”
She added, “I love lyrics that twist things. When I write a song, it’s usually because I’ve got to a point where I go ‘what am I going to do, I’m fucked, I got to write a song’. I always try and put a kick into them because when I listen back to those songs when I’m 60, I don’t ever want to think that I was a depressed, and fucked up seventeen-year-old.
“I want to think I handled it well, didn’t create too much of a drama. The songs that I love are when you expect one thing, and they say the other. I love being surprised, and I try and do that myself, flip things at the end.”
It still boggles the mind how she penned songs of such magnitude as ‘Stronger Than Me’ when she was only a teenager. However, Frank took a while to find an audience, only charting at 60 initially at the time of release before climbing to 13 a few months later and re-entering at three following her death.
While her sophomore album took her to unmanageable heights of fame, Winehouse was more comfortable operating on the sidelines without the world’s eyes which feasted upon her every move. Truthfully, it’s almost impossible to ignore the tragedy of her story, and this isolated vocal only enhances that sentiment.