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Winehouse Said It Herself: You Know I'm No Good

by Teegan Conti

Has America gone mad? Amy Winehouse, or "Wino," arguably one of the trashiest, most irreverent and self-destructive singers of today's age, managed to win five Grammy's this month. Strangely, I seem to care more than she did as she did not attend the award show to accept her undue honors. While Sasha Frere-Jones, author of "Amy's Circus," published in The New Yorker, contests "Winehouse's self-destruction isn't a plausible explanation for her popularity or awards," I beg to differ. I think it's precisely her bad girl attitude, eclectic style and bold actions that have propelled her to super-stardom, right where she doesn't belong.

Winehouse is, in all senses of the word, a copycat. Whether it's in her actions, resembling those of notorious Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Janis Joplin, or her music, which sounds remarkable similar to fellow Brit Ms. Dynamite, Destiny's Child, and Dawn Penn, Winehouse isn't as original as we give her credit for. In fact, she isn't covering any new ground, just trucking down paths already traveled. Winehouse is simply a fabrication - an iconic rebel created by minds more brilliant than her own. Much like Beyonce Knowles and Destiny's Child resembled earlier Diana Ross and The Supremes, and even played the more talented Ross in the 2006 film "Dreamgirls," Winehouse is somewhat of a modern-day Billie Holiday, with more edge and less teeth.

Winehouse has been in the limelight time and time again this year, walking around London in her bra, barefoot, smoking some substance on camera (supposedly, crack), and drawing blood in a spat with her husband. At times it seems her songs are merely played to give a face to her latest travesty. And let's not forget her frequent rehab visits, source of her hit single. Yet, Michael Jackson's peculiar behavior and Britney Spears' meltdowns prove it is better to be in the limelight than in no light at all.

While Frere-Jones chocks up Winehouse's success to her use of various rhythms from the '70s and the '90s, with the soul of the '60s and a touch of '40s jazz, even she had reservations about her authenticity. Listening to Winehouse's album, "Back To Black," I can appreciate her soulful voice and great range, but can't hail her as "the most relented and important musical artist of her generation" as her label does. Her slurred words and dropped consonants, creating "day" and "dis" in place of "that" and "this" are more common in the music industry today, but not to a skinny white girl from London.

What seems most intriguing to listeners is her resistance to be defined. The fascination has become more about Winehouse's rocker persona and ability to transcend musical boundaries than about her music. During her Grammy acceptance speech, shown via satellite, Winehouse thanked her "Blake, incarcerated." For most, this might have seemed quite mind-boggling, but it was probably the most honest thing said all night. Without Winehouse's substance abuse problems, troubled husband and strange personal life, people would become bored with her mundane music. The title of her last track, "You Know I'm No Good," speaks volumes as well.

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