Back to Black


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Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Winehouse chooses to stand by her man as he fights “Some Unholy War” (“I would be behind him … with strength he didn’t know”).

Objectionable Content

Despite admitting that she has a drinking problem, the singer’s pride and lack of commitment keep her from going to “Rehab” (“I ain’t got 70 days/ … There’s nothing you can teach me”). She coins a new derivative of the f-word on “Me & Mr. Jones,” which compounds its offensiveness by using crass slang. It’s a vulgar term for male genitalia that also appears on the title track, a song that gives nods to cocaine and marijuana (“You love blow, and I love puff”). On “Tears Dry on Their Own” a woman hates to see an adulterous affair end and anticipates becoming “some next man’s other woman soon.” Speaking of unfaithfulness, she tells a guy bent on marrying her that he crossed her mind recently while she was “in the final throes” with an old flame (“You Know I’m No Good”). “Just Friends” finds a couple sneaking around for sex. That cut also mentions alcohol and repeats the s-word.

Summary Advisory

This British singer sports tattoos of pinup girls, has a history of self-mutilation and isn’t opposed to performing drunk. Winehouse’s lyrics on the bluesy Back to Black are no better. Parental advisory aside, its ideas about romance are a recipe for failure and suffering.

Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski
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