With the highest grossing opening weekend for a British documentary ever, 'Amy' was the surprise cinema hit of the summer. What could've been a very biased, judgemental take on the singer's life was instead a compassionate look at the devastating impact that drinks, drugs, and the paparazzi had on a young woman's life. As music documentaries go, the filmmakers could've easily used tabloid fodder to document Amy Winehouse's dramatic final years, but instead turned to her words and music to tell her story. No narrator was needed in the film to guide us through her life. Audiences were able to watch Winehouse growing up on the road in her late teens as she played jazz clubs around the UK, through to her final tour after the 'Back To Black' album, with her lyrics carrying the narrative of the film.
While listening to the soundtrack, you can feel all of the ups and downs that Winehouse was going through at the time. There's the fantastic 'Stronger Than Me' that shows off the powerful, resilient side to Winehouse. But then the likes of 'Rehab' and 'Love Is A Losing Game' tell you that all is not well in her life. No matter how many times you may have heard the songs, the lyrics still manage to cut through in all of their rawness and stark beauty.
Antonio Pinto's instrumental tracks are delicate and emotive, sweeping you along in between Winehouse's offerings. Pinto conjures up the drama and sadness that Asif Kapadia's documentary depicted so beautifully without the need of a narrator.
The majority of Winehouse's songs included on the album are live tracks or demo versions, setting this album apart from a straight-forward soundtrack. 'Some Unholy War (Downtempo Version)' and 'Back To Black (Acapella/Album Medley)' stand out in particular, with their stripped-back sounds displaying Winehouse's voice in all of its raw beauty.
With 23 songs in total, the soundtrack is carefully crafted and stunningly beautiful. Pinto's tracks perfectly depict the downward spiral of Winehouse's life alongside her own autobiographical pieces. Even without the interviews and home movies to show you the rollercoaster that was Winehouse's life, with a soundtrack as good as this you feel you're almost going through it all with her.
'Amy - The Original Soundtrack' is released on 30th October.
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