- Recording information: Chung King Studios; Dapking Studios; Instrument Zoo, Miami, FL; Metropolis Studios, London; Sensible Studios; Wise Buddah.
- It doesn't take much listening to Amy Winehouse's 1960s pop period piece to realize that this is a tribute with an edge--nice girls back then didn't sing about boozing and rehab. Since her 2003 debut album, FRANK, Winehouse has been a frequent presence on the gossip pages of the U.K. tabloids, and her songwriting here candidly reflects her experiences with drinking, sex, and drugs.
- BACK TO BLACK's production is an artful blend of sophisticated '60s R&B and 21st-century stylistic poaching, with "Tears Dry on Their Own" incorporating elements of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and Winehouse sounding like Billie Holiday fronting a reggae band on the old-fashioned cheating song "Just Friends." Densely packed with musical history and often conjuring a dark, Portishead-esque atmosphere, BACK TO BLACK is a sumptuous-sounding collection freighted with blunt confessionals of a lush life.
Rolling Stone (p.76) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Winehouse is a nervy, witty songstress whom indie rockers, pop fans and hip-hoppers can dig."
Rolling Stone (p.115) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "[W]ith a brassy, intensely personal sorrow that is true blues, not nouveau soul."
Spin (p.79) - "[A] breakthrough, producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson surround her with brass sections, string sections, harp, Wurlitzer, the works."
Entertainment Weekly (p.67) - "It's precisely Winehouse's lyrics...aching, flirty, and often straight-up nasty -- that raise this expertly crafted set into the realm of true, of-the-minute originality." -- Grade: A-
Q (Magazine) (p.134) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Winehouse is one of the best things to have happened to British pop recently."