‘I don’t think I’m such an amazing person who needs to be written about’ - Amy Winehouse
We beg to differ…
September 14th marked the birth of the legendary musician, Amy Winehouse, who would have turned 33. Although her music was often overshadowed by her media representation as a troubled soul trapped in a drug driven cycle of self-destruction, Amy will always be remembered for her phenomenal talent, as well as her surprisingly down to earth attitude towards fame.
Amy is renowned, not only for her striking voice and musical ability, but also for her talent as a lyricist: it is perhaps the blend of the two elements that made her music so unforgettable. There is such genuine quality to her music that provides a refreshing alternative to the constant stream of sugar coated commercial pop. Amy Winehouse wrote on a variety of different topics and aspects of life, although she is perhaps best known for her songs on love and heartbreak, drawing deeply from her own personal experiences. In celebration of Amy’s incredible legacy, we thought we’d share with you a small selection of her greatest and most relatable lyrics.
1. ‘We only said goodbye with words/ I died a hundred times’
Taken from the song Back to Black, which describes a particularly difficult break up, there is a beautiful simplicity to these particular lines that so accurately capture the pain and emptiness that come with ending a relationship.
2. ‘For you I was the flame/ Love is a losing game’
Much like Back to Black, these lyrics to the song Love is a Losing Game have a mournful, despondent quality to them. There is a sense of resigned nostalgia (an acceptance of the situation perhaps) to the words, which gives the song, as a whole, a slightly retro feel.
3. ‘He can only hold her for so long/ The lights are on but no one’s home/ She’s so vacant/ Her soul is taken/ He thinks, ‘What’s she running from?’
Taken from the song He Can Only Hold Her, these lyrics differ from the majority of Amy’s songs, as they are written in third person. The song describes a relationship between a man and a woman in which the man is emotionally invested, yet the woman is in love with somebody else. The third person voice reinforces the woman’s sense of emotional detachment. It is possible that Amy is writing about herself in this scenario.
4. ‘His face in my dreams seizes my guts/ He floods me with dread/ Soaked in soul/ He swims in my eyes by the bed/ Pour myself over him.’
This song I Wake Up Alone is arguably Amy’s most heart-breaking piece, and explores the obsessive, nature of love and infatuation, and that haunting feeling of not only missing someone, but feeling their presence long after they have left.
5. ‘He walks away/ The sun goes down/ He takes the day/ But I am grown.’
Ending on a more cheerful note, these lyrics from the song Tears Dry on Their Own explore a similar theme to Back to Black (taken from the same album, and written about the same person) and are also relatable in terms of their simplicity. Unlike Back to Black there is a sense of hope and positivity, conveyed through the lines ‘But I am grown’. Perfect listening for those final stages of getting through a break up!
That concludes our list of Amy Winehouse’s top love themed lyrics. Why not let us know your favourites via social media, or, if you are interested in finding out more about Amy Winehouse’s life and works, take a look at our book ‘A Losing Game’ by Mick O’Shea.