Back to Black
REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD

CRITIC’S CHOICE

R&B

On her retro-soulful second album, Back to Black, saucy belter Amy Winehouse serves up a heady cocktail of vintage ’60s R&B. The 23-year-old Brit comes out smoking with “Rehab,” easily one of the best singles of 2007. Displaying both humor and chutzpah, Winehouse, who refused when her former management company wanted her to go to rehab, turns a righteous girl-group groove into a rebellious bad-girl anthem, as if Courtney Love has crashed Martha and the Vandellas: “I’d rather be at home with Ray/ I ain’t got 70 days/ ‘Cause there’s nothing, there’s nothing you can teach me/ That I can’t learn from Mr. Hathaway.” Almost as hot is the next song, “You Know I’m No Good,” on which she makes like Shirley Bassey as she concedes, “I cheated myself/ Like I knew I would/ I told you I was trouble.” But Winehouse can be tender as well as tough; on cuts like the title tune and “Love Is a Losing Game,” she lets you see the tracks of her tears.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Rehab”

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