Back to Black (Island)
As a musician and artist, being asked to choose your favorite album is almost like being asked the question, “choose a favorite friend.” It’s a damn near impossibility. How could I possibly compare the sentimental attachment I have for Noah and The Whale’s First Days of Spring to the one I have for Bon Iver’s 22 A Million, an album I distinctly remember listening to with friends on a couch back in my sophomore year of college? What about Joni Mitchell’s Blue, or Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel…, projects that completely changed my understanding of songwriting as a craft. Likewise, Perfume Genius’ No Shape and Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism taught me sonic colors I had never heard before. So many friends who have been there for me at different times in my life and continue to be there for me in unexpected ways. But there is one project that stands out amongst the rest.
Somehow, I always return to Back To Black. What is and remains to be uncanny about Amy Winehouse’s writing is her inherent knack to just lay it bare, as is, and get away with it. There are few artists who were/are able to deliver the line, “he left no time to regret/kept his dick wet/with his same old safe bet” as the opening lyric and have a global audience buy it, believe it, understand it, and relate to it. That is the magic of Amy. Something so real and so raw but not talked about, delivered in a single, succinct punch. When I listen to Amy, I immediately feel heard. In my opinion, that’s the greatest gift an artist can give a fan. Not just that, I feel confident and at ease with my edges and flaws. Close friends know that if I’m ever feeling low, put on Amy. Put on Back To Black. I’ll soon be up and dancing, smiling, and laughing about the strange trip that is life.
Leila Sunier’s “Everyone” is out now. The Where Everything is Perfect EP is released on October 9.