Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Music Box: Duffy

As regular readers know, when it comes to pretty much everything music I'm hopelessly lost in the '80s. I was telling a coworker of mine yesterday that I recently admitted to myself that the reason I still buy new releases by the likes of Cyndi Lauper has less to do with any real desire to hear them and more to do with the fact that I figure if I don't know anything about what's going on in music now, I should at least be up-to-date with what I purport to know about. Every so often I try to get with it. Kind friends and readers have steared me in the right direction in recent years with occasionally good results (Goldfrapp, The Pipettes and Nicole Atkins come to mind). In March of last year I received a nice e-mail a fellow blogger who "noted our similarities in musical taste: Ronettes, Shangri-Las, Supremes, Shirelles! Wow. Yes. ... Then please don't miss my recommendation for you this month: Amy Winehouse. You'll swoon." I had never even heard of her at that point, but I happened to be in a Virgin Mega Store shortly thereafter and they had "Black to Black" available to listen to on the wall. Maybe it was the photo or the horrible font on the cover, or maybe it was the one song I listened to ("Rehab") rubbed me the wrong way, but I saw what my blog pal was getting at, but I wasn't buying it. Here we are a little more than a year later and Amy Winehouse is an international phenomenon -- yes, for her sad personal life but even more so for her much-celebrated music. Michael has since fallen in love with "Back to Black" and I've come to see the other songs are far more '60s magic that her most famous song I rejected at first blush.

So last night on my subway ride home from work I read the review in The Washington Post of the debut album from Duffy, "Rockferry," and couldn't help but wonder if the second time's the charm: "Amiee Duffy is a 23-year-old white girl from the United Kingdom with an aching, powerhouse voice; a knack for writing sharp confessionals about broken relationships; an apparent affinity for vintage Motown and girl-group pop; and an old-fashioned look, right down -- or up -- to her big bouffant. Kind of like Amy Winehouse, sans the messy personal life." Go on! "The Welsh singer, whose nom de art is simply Duffy, won't immediately be able to shake the Winehouse comparisons, as she's arriving a little bit late to this particular retro party. It's a shame, as Duffy is an intriguing young talent with a winning debut album and a hugely promising future." (I'm so there -- and the fact that she's a blond bombshell doesn't hurt one bit either!)

J. Freedom du Lac goes on to say that Duffy's "Rockferry" falls short on Winehouse's "exceptional 'Back to Black'" (which The Post erroneously calls "Black to Black" -- and I thought I was out of it!) but still raved enough to get me to come home and check this girl out. And I have to say, I really like what I hear and have already ordered the CD. Check her out and let me know what you think.

"Warwick Avenue"


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Kenneth.

Thanks for the heads up on Duffy. She is marvelous.
I love her CD.