Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jon Pareles' on Amy Winehouse's On-Stage Detachment

Jon Pareles of the NYTimes was as disappointed in Amy Winehouse-as-"performer" this week as I was back in March. But his causal attribution differs from mine. In explaining her odd persona live, Pareles points mainly to her Britishness (and its removal from the origins of soul, e.g., African-American church choir) & her age (growing up on "hip-hop's version of R&B"). I don't know... those factors might be (small?) pieces of the puzzle, but I don't think you have to be American, African-American, or Aretha's age to have soul - to show deep emotional connection with your songs - on-stage. Corinne Bailey Rae is just one example in a long list. She's British, half-white, did not get her start singing in a gospel church (it was a much more conventional brethren church choir) and is only 4 years older. Her songs are more neo-soul than retro, of course -- but having recently seen her live, let me tell you, the woman feels her music on-stage...

I just think that Amy Winehouse's performance issues have much more to do with being Amy Winehouse, specifically, than they do with the circumstances of her nationality or her age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post -- absolutely agree.