Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Back to Black
Back then, I had a difficult commute that spanned three different highways. In the morning, if I left at just the right time, I would be ahead of the traffic and the drive would take me 30 minutes. In the afternoon, there didn't seem to be a good time to leave. Bare minimum, I was in the car 45 minutes to drive 17 miles.
These commutes lent themselves to uninterrupted music playing. I would listen to several different artists, but one album made it into the CD player every day without fail.
That album was Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. The raw desperation and honesty in her voice captivated me. The jazz and blues undertones coupled with her throaty voice were unlike anything I had heard before. I've admitted in the past my weakness for British songstresses and Amy was no exception.
Sure, her antics didn't escape my notice. As someone who has a past with a loved one who suffers from addiction, I waited for her to hit rock bottom. When I became very upset with her, I wrote her an open letter on my now defunct Myspace blog (yeah, I had one, what of it??).
In my open letter, I explained to her that if she didn't clean her act up soon, her disease would take her life. I remember telling her that I would be so angry with her if she died too early because I wanted her to make more music. I wanted to be able to experience how her musical talent would evolve once she made it to the other side of her addiction.
Back to Black, while brilliant, was the creative outlet for a lovesick addict and the lyrics reflected a painful time in her life. I was anxious for her to turn a corner; I wanted to see how her music would sound in happier times. There was so much potential.
Y'all, I wear rose colored glasses a lot of the time.
Turns out, I didn't get angry when I heard the news of Amy's death, as I promised I would. Instead, I became despondent.
When I heard the news, we were in hour fifteen of a sixteen hour road trip to Iowa. I decided to use my last few minutes of battery life on my cell phone to check out what was going on in the world.
I gasped as I read she had died. My eyes brimmed with tears and I thought about the open letter. I wiped the tears away and realized that there would be no anger.
No anger; just sadness.
Sadness that a beautiful life was lost to addiction.
Sadness that such talent was squandered.
Sadness that she never got the help she needed.
I no longer have the long commute to work every day; when we bought our house I traded my 30 minute commute for a brief 10 minute jaunt. I don't listen to Amy quite as much as I used to, but I think on our way home I'll pop Back to Black in, for old times' sake. .