Amy Winehouse Back To Black Deluxe Edition Review!

Back To Black (2006) by Amy Winehouse is an amazing album with track after track dripping with perfection. Amy Winehouse was an incredible vocalist and songwriter whose lyrics had the emotion that her vocals emphasised with rawness and realness.

Let’s take a look at each track individually:

Rehab

Rehab was a very original sounding tune when it came out in 2006 and it has a very timeless feel because of it’s quality. Winehouse’s vocal is soulful, glorious and filled with edge and emotion and the song has a great beat to it as well.

You Know I’m No Good

Brilliant storytelling and another very instantly catchy tune.

Me & Mr Jones

Very old-school soul. Beautiful.

Just Friends

This song flows along beautifully from section to section. Winehouse’s vocal seamlessly flows over the contrasting instrumentals with ease.

Back to Black

The title track is a tale of heartbreak. Winehouse had this realness in her vocal which was great whether it was a love song or a heartbreak song she sang although in my opinion she was at her strongest singing about love’s woes. It is like her heartbreak and emotion is plummeting into your ears and bringing to mind all your own sadness where matters of the heart are concerned. Raw, emotional and heartbreakingly real.

Love Is a Losing Game

More breathtaking heartbreak, Love Is a Losing Game has a very poetic feel to it and the slowed-down music compliments Winehouse’s vocal perfectly.

Tears Dry on Their Own

One of my favourite tracks on the album, this song has a very Supremes feel to it which I love. It’s like Ain’t No Mountain High Enough done in an edgy, contemporary way.

Wake Up Alone

Get the tissues ready! This is a tearjerker with stunning, heartbreaking lyrics. Another one of my favourite tracks on the album.

Some Unholy War

Beautifully haunting and really original. There is a pouring of emotion in Winehouse’s voice which really draws you in.

He Can Only Hold Her

Very catchy. The instrumentals are stunning. I love the strength of character in the lyrics. “He tries to placify her but what’s inside her never dies.” Amazing.

Addicted

Again, very catchy and edgy with stunning, original instrumentals.

Valerie

This track with Mark Ronson has a very storytelling quality to it and is really catchy. Stunning job.

Cupid (Deluxe Edition Version)

Another of my favourites from the album Cupid has amazing instrumentals running throughout it. When Winehouse sings, “I love a man who doesn’t know I exist” I know exactly what she means. Very catchy chorus too.

Monkey Man

Very fast and catchy. Brilliant. It has a very Caribbean beach party vibe to it in the instrumentals.

Some Unholy War (Down Tempo)

This sounds brilliant slowed-down. Glorious.

Hey Little Rich Girl

This track has a great hook and has a great beat. Very catchy and original, it flows perfectly through each part like an exhilarating speed train.

You’re Wondering Now

Very relaxed with brilliant instrumentals. Very old-school with a modern twist.

To Know Him Is To Love Him (Live For NapsterLive, London/2006)

Every time I hear this song I think of people I felt these emotions for. It’s very authentic to how a person feels when they are in love. Understated, beautiful and stunning.

Love Is a Losing Game (Original Demo)

It was lovely to hear the original demo of this track. Without too much production you get to hear Winehouse’s vocal laid bare and it shows just how incredible her vocal was if that fact was ever in any doubt. Incredible and a perfect way to end the album.

Six Andreja Pejic Vids In Celebration Of Her 24th Birthday!

Today is the 24th birthday of model Andreja Pejic. In celebration of the birthday of this very inspiring model who is beautiful on the inside and on the outside let’s take a look at six of her YouTube vids. :-):

Andreja Pejić interviewed by Lisa Wilkinson on Today

Andreja Pejic interview GLAAD Awards, NYC

Andreja Pejic on The Project

Andreja Pejic on Al Jazeera America

Andreja Pejic TEDx Event Talk

Meet The Courageous Class: Andreja Pejic

Happy Birthday Andreja! :-)

Interview: Scott

Name: Scott
Location: Manchester
Age: 34

At what age did you first realise that you were gay?

When I was 6 I had the first memory of thinking a passing man was attractive but it wasn’t until I was 10 that I first told my mum.

Have your family and friends always been supportive?

Yes, I’ve been very fortunate to only have people around me who have been accepting and supportive. I never had a huge group of friends at school but those I had were close and I suspect that anyone who was close, knew before I told them.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

I had a couple of people growing up, older friends who have helped give me confidence in my sexuality. I’ve always associated with older people and I benefited from their experience and wisdom and that helped me a a great deal but there’s never been ONE specific person.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in life because of your sexuality?

Yes, I have been forced out of two jobs for being gay. Solicitors have commented that it was clearly because I was gay that the employers took a dislike to me yet they were very careful not to say as much. At the same time though, it has been beneficial. Many companies appreciate gay staff because they’re so good with customers, they care and generally work better in customer service environments.

Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to gay people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?

Definitely. Even since I was young, the attitudes have changed immensely. It has now become in the UK at least, almost a trophy to be gay. People will often be proud to say they have a gay best friend or groups of friends will almost always have a ‘token gay’ guy amongst them because it’s seen as being fashionable. If you don’t know or like gay people, you are almost frowned upon by other groups in society now. That said, there is a LONG way to go before things are equal and there is no discrimination but I am proud of the way society is headed.

What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?

I would urge them to be strong, find people like them and try to establish connections with people who think they same as they do. Spend some time in gay areas like the Village in Manchester, Soho in London, you will be able to realise that it’s OK to be gay and that people are all around us in the same situation. Above all, you need to know yourself and be strong enough to stand for what and who you are. Don’t let people smother you and if they are, move, find other people who want to be around the real you.

Are you religious? What do you think of the Church’s attitude towards gay people?

No, I’m not religious. The church in my opinion are extremely hypercritical. Many ministers have been known to be gay, have abused boys in the past and I dare say that many use the Church as a means to cover their sexuality. They don’t marry and claim the church is their wife as an easy way to cover their true feelings. That could be wrong but I suspect there are many gay chuch folk out there too scared to be themselves. The Church is responsible for a lot of hatred and discrimination and of all people you’d expect to be supportive and loving, they can be the worst.

Are you political? If so, is there any organisations whose work you particularly admire?

No, I’m not political but I do have views on current events such as the break up of the UK with Scotland wanting to leave the union. I also have views on immigration, unemployment etc. I do feel that all politicians are truly in it for themselves, there are very few politicians in power who are the ‘common man’ and who have the power to change things for the greater good of ‘Joe Public’. 

That said, there are organisations like Stonewall, The British Heart Foundation and many others who all play important roles in trying to make life better for people.

Have you ever been in love?
Many times. I am now. I love my long term partner and I have loved many times before. I’m currently coming to terms with the death of someone I loved very much. I firmly believe you can love more than one person and each love is unique and does not belittle the love you have for another.

Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?

No we’re not. I often think about it but my partner is scared that if we were to marry, we would affect our 14-year relationship and we don’t want anything to change. We’re happy how we are.

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?

No but I would love to be. My partner says he hates kids but he doesn’t. He loves my nephews like they are his own, as do I. I doubt I will ever be a father but I would very much to have children. Who knows?

Meath Rose Elysha Brennan Is Crowned Rose of Tralee 2015!

The annual Rose of Tralee festival took place recently in Kerry and it was Meath Rose Elysha Brennan who took the crown. As someone who grew up in Co. Meath I am very proud!

The 22-year-old, who is the first Meath winner of the contest, spoke to host Dáithí Ó Sé about how she conquered cancer, is now a medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons and how she is a huge fan of Ryan Tubridy and The Late Late Show.

Following her win Brennan said,

“I have never been surrounded by such inspirational, moving, strong, driven, focused, ambitious, wonderful, spectacular, young ladies… I am in such good company, I thank you so much and I hope to do the Rose of Tralee proud. I have the biggest shoes I’ve ever known to fill after Maria Walsh.”

Well done Elysha! Very well-deserved! :-)

Interview: Justice

Name: Justice

Location: SE1 – Bankside

Age: 29

At what age did you first realise that you were gay?

I would say first when I was about 6 years old. Then when I was about 8 I realised what it was. Growing up I always saw myself marrying a man. I must say.

Have your family and friends always been supportive?

I’ve had it easy ‘cos I’m very black and white so it’s how I presented it. You in? Or you out? I’m happy either way! My background is Jamaican, and over there they use religion and hate to almost use homophobic abuse as a sport. Once I was armed with my friends approval it made it easy to get the family’s. This is me I said! You in?

Are you involved in political activism? Is there any organisations whose work you particularly admire?

No I don’t. But I have plans to. They are a group of gays living in a storm drain in Jamaica, after being forced out of a swart. It moved me to see the length people have to go to, to be themselves. I have plans to get involved.

Are you religious? What do you think of the Church’s attitude towards gay people?

Well religion is always a messy one. I consider myself spiritual and can respect others’ choices. I just think people need to be aware of what religion really is! And that all the power is with inside of you. I believe most religions are there to control people, they can’t control us with it, so they demonise us with it, while open to recruiting us telling us we can change! They way I see it is this! What ever gives you comfort! Go for it! But not at the expense of others, in an unhealthy way.

Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to gay people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?

It’s a hard one! Yes we still have a way to go. But! We wasn’t going away! And now with the birth of reality tv it just would not work without us . From behind the scenes to in front of the camera. Most of all! Everyone using our lingo from our forefathers. #hastagedat! Lol

Music and fashion are bringing lots of people together, and gays are at the heart of that melting pot! It’s a great time to be gay! Lol. Nobody is shocked anymore! Next stop bearded ladies! Lol

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your life because of your sexuality?

Oh gosh, not since late 90s but it would be people saying as you walk past. But yes everyday! In entertainment business it can hinder or when you come across a closet or some with issues! They can offload their insecurities on you. Nowadays days they know that we are the makers of cool! Lol

What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?

Gosh! I would say it gets better! Once you have made peace with it! Know no one on the earth can get in your way! As gay people we get to choose our family ( in my Ru Paul voice) so there is love ready and waiting for you. Being yourself is the best feeling in the world.

Growing up did you find it easy to meet other gay people?

It was hard, but saying that! It’s like we can smell it on each other! You just know! Sometimes it’s in our eyes! Gay eyes! Lol. I remember sniffing out the others and the girls who are down with us. Others not so lucky! No!

Have you ever been in love?

Yes I have. But it’s hard not to dedicate your whole life to it, as you have seen people in love for years and wondered, when’s it my turn?! I used to be obsessed with love, being older I now know better.

Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?

My Fave question, I’m not married but I have been planning my wedding since I was 6. I used to play weddings by wrapping myself around a duvet, to make a wedding dress. And marry a man of course! I would say my husband when asked! Lol. It’s one of my life goals, to be fulfilled before 35 for sure.

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?

In my first relationship, we had a plan to have kids. We were on a mission to be fathers, but now I feel too busy making my career happen! But when I’m married if my husband wants kids I’m up for that.

Interview: Diab

Name: Diab

Location: New South Wales

Age: 27

At what age did you first realise that you were androgynous?

From as young as I can remember I have always gravitated to elements of both genders. I never understood why, and still don’t, that certain characteristics are labelled as male and the others as female. I don’t understand why the western world seems to be the most progressive, but in in other ways most rapidly regressive when it comes to gender, gender roles and gender definitions.

Have your family and friends always been supportive?

No. I hold no animosity as I am aware of the circumstances to which I grew up. There is not many, if any, and certainly not in the 80’s and 90’s, figureheads of normality within this “androgynous” world. It can be closely related to sexuality in the sense that it is not a choice, you are being who you are without thought and reason. To the outside it seems weird and almost as an attack on others. When everyone realised I was simply being myself and never intended harm, they have become my greatest defenders.

How has your past shaped who you are today?

I am one of those rare cases where I think that it hasn’t. I am incredibly blessed to simply not care what others think. As someone who is bullied daily for simply being who I am, you would be shocked to find I am probably the happiest person you will meet. I do recall jumping to the defence of others in my teen years so that I could take the brunt of the attack to protect those without as strong a will, as quite simply, words can’t harm me. Perhaps it has made me empathise with others.

Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to androgynous people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?

There is a MASSIVE way to go but sadly, only in my late 20’s have I noticed a change. I am happy that when I am out I don’t see queer youth being bullied as readily as I did when I was younger and I would like to think that in some small way, I helped in desensitising the world to the obscure and allowed people to see others for who they are and not their shell.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your life because of your androgyny?

Every day. People simply don’t understand. To be honest I truly pity them. Those who seek pleasure through the pain of others are the true victim. Their inner turmoil is far worse than any attack they can inflict on another.

Who was your favourite character to play in your acting career and why

His name was James. It was actually an awareness piece to raise money for aged care and the living conditions of the elderly. Two “troubled” teens were paired up with senior citizens to help them become more productive members of society. Whilst one of the teens was troubled, James was simply a queer teen who liked colour and eyeliner. He was a happy-go-lucky kid with a thirst for knowledge and loved all those who crossed his path. I was left bouncing off the walls after playing him from the sheer energy he left with me. He also highlighted how youth who are different, even slightly, are “troubled”, when perhaps all they need is an ear to listen; only then will you see that you are the one who is truly troubled for seeing any difference in them.

You have been approached by gay youth looking for advice. What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out as gay or androgynous or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?

ALL THE TIME! I am actually glad that they came to me as I function without judgement. Too many times have I witnessed destructive behaviour within the queer community when one is reaching for support. Unfortunately this ideal of being a “bitch” and “fierce” is prevalent within the community and only harms all involved as it breeds a new generation of homophobia, even seen within the community. What I would say is just be yourself, as long as you are not harming yourself or others. Sure some might get angry, but it is their issues coming to the fore. Take your time and explore, find who you really are as often too many follow a cookie cutter image of what a “role” is supposed to be and lose any sense of who they really are. Time is also an important factor to those in your life and you need to be sensitive to their issues and concerns as you would hope them to be with yours. Rather than rocking up in “drag” one day for example, ease them into the role, or invite them to a performance or social gathering, let them see it is who you are and that you are truly happy. Where you expect respect, you need to give it to receive it and not demand it. Life is here to be lived, you only get one so you should be true to yourself and remember, words can’t hurt you, you only allow them to. And for those who wish to debate that point, if I punched you in the face that would hurt without choice, I am living, breathing proof that you and only you allow words to cause you harm. Others have opinions and they are entitled to them, so really, leave it with them and let them harm themselves with negativity.

Has your journey affected your relationships? In what way?

No. If anything I have more respect for them as they grew and accepted me. I come from a very open world but in many ways it has been closed. I have unconditional love from people who would have initially hated others who are like me. Now they see that our shell does not dictate the person within. They changed who they are to accommodate who I am and in turn others. How can that not be a good thing and how can I not be grateful?

Have you ever been in love?

Yes. The love I have felt is the deepest, unconditional love in the world from those who have truly seen me as who I am. Even if it took some time.

Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?

I like to think that I will, but even as a teen I never saw it happening… I have a fascination with divorce! Let your first marriage set you up for the rest! In all seriousness I think dedicating yourself to one being for the rest of your life is one of the most beautiful things that we as a soul can do. Do I see it happening for me in a marital sense? I’m not sure.

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?

I’m an uncle and I can honestly say I have taken the ideals I would as a father and placed them on my kids (to which I refer to them). I know because of people like me, that they will enter a world free of judgement and I say that as I have grown with them when they have experienced the conflict of what “boys and girls are meant to do”. Sure it might not be completely dissolved, but it is one step to a better world in which we are meant to live; Embracing the differences in us all as we are all unique, no matter how hard we try to conform, and we can all learn so much from every person we meet.

Interview: Billy

Name: Billy

Location: Lincoln, originally from Scotland

Age: 19

At what age did you first realise that you were gay?

I knew from quite a young age as I realised I wasn’t quite like the other boys in school as I found myself noticing them noticing girls at the age of around 10 and I quickly convinced myself that wasn’t right.

Have your family and friends always been supportive?

Once they found out they where more than supportive and helped me through a lot of hard times, however my parent whom I lived with prior to moving in with my mother were very nonchalant about such delicate matters such as throwing the words ‘poofter’ and ‘pansy’  and a few more I’m reluctant to mention around without a care.

Were you comfortable openly been yourself growing up? For example in school? When was the first time you felt truly comfortable been yourself?

I was far from comfortable, I grew up in a very backwards town in the west of Scotland where any kind of difference was noticed and chastised, I may sound somewhat barbaric and this may seem like an exaggeration but to me it was hell where I was trapped to be something I just wasn’t. All the boys in my family loved cars, trucks and getting dirty outside while I much preferred the comfort of the indoors with some pencils and paper.
Wimp, poof, gayboy and queer where just some of the names I would hear slip out of the mouths of my family.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in work because of your sexuality?

I work for Tesco and they have a non-tolerance to discrimination of any kind, they even have a colleague social site for lgbt people called outattesco.com

Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to gay people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?

The world has made leaps and bounds as of late in the topic of equality but there are still far too many close minded bigoted people in the world who are breeding hate in the next generation and I can only hope, like so many of my generation, they grow up independently of their parents’ bigoted opinions.

What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?

If you aren’t comfortable being you then find somewhere that you will be, no matter how long you wait there will always be somewhere in the end that will be your place to be you, it gets easier and better and those who don’t support you are not worth fretting over. Trust me I learnt that the hard way.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

My mother without a doubt. Without her I could never have gotten to where I am today. Her constant support gave me the strength to leave behind my wretched life and start a new one with her in England with her husband and my sister and im now off to UNI to study fine art and live my life.

Are you political? Is there any organisations whose work you particularly admire?

I’m not political – I don’t see why the morality of my sexuality that’s unique to me should be decided by anyone but myself.

Have you ever been in love?

Oh god ‘love’. I do believe I have been in love and nothing felt better and it was innocent and pure before the world weaved in and warped our minds and twisted them into adulthood. People may say we could never be in love at 15 but I know for sure that we were and it’s four years later. One thing to be said though, be prepared as nothing stings more than the first love lost.

Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?

I would love to be married one day. To be with that one person who makes me feel perfect and to make them feel the same.

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?

I would like to be a father one day not anytime soon but when I can afford to give a child the best start in life.