I Hate Beyonce's New "Back to Black" Cover With My Entire Soul
Since the first thing that comes to mind about New York during the roaring 1920's is dubstep, Autotune, and, of course, Andre 3000 and Beyonce, the producers of the new The Great Gatsby movie have forced this little ditty upon us from the upcoming soundtrack.
Bey and Andre's collaboration on Amy Winehouse's throwback tune may very well have produced the worst song that's ever been released, cover or otherwise. I have nothing nice to say about it. Oh, yes, I mean that. I mean that very much. It's just a mess. A huge, sandpaper-to-the-Eustachian-tubes mess.
If you'd like to hear two extremely famous and otherwise generally talented artists rip "Back to Black" to shreds, please see below.
Mind you, I'm not saying the song is horseshit because I'm a Winehouse purist; I'm saying that because it's frickin' true. From Andre's burpy, dub-stepped mess of lyrics to Beyonce's overly breathy, loud, and unnecessarily dramatic vocalization, the entire thing is appalling. I flat-out hate this song. It sucks, and hard.
The duo chopped, screwed, and digitalized the hell out of what had been Winehouse's smoldering, longingly painful ballad, rendering it essentially unrecognizable. It's a train wreck of artistic liberties, none of which were well thought-out. It is an over-produced, rhinestone-and-cheap perfume gutter-tramp version of the original.
And listen, I expected a certain amount of artistic liberty. It wouldn't be a Bey track if she didn't throw in her own style, and Andre, for his part, is equally famous for his well-timed risks. But whatever the hell this is, it's not Beyonce or Amy or even Andre's style.
A chopping, heaving, overabundance of Autotune is not a style, it is a cop-out. And if these were intentional risks, they were grossly miscalculated. I'm not even sure either artist tried to do anything other than recite Winehouse's lyrics -- which, may I add, are unrecognizable for the most part during that robot hell of an intro.
The reason this song (in its original form, anyway) was so amazing was because it was solid and soul-baring. It captivated the audience with the ability to pull these huge emotional reactions, all hinged upon the strength of Winehouse's voice, a simple melodic arrangement, and a whole lot of inner turmoil.
The hybrid Beyonce/Andre version is also an emotional grab. I mean, it definitely evokes a reaction from the audience; I'm just not sure the emotion they were looking for was disdain. The thundering emotion of Winehouse's complicated, oft-lonely existence has been replaced with one-trick ponies, sticky carnival rides, and grandiose grabs for attention. There's nothing authentic about the effort.