2007 release, the first time Amy's debut has been available in the U.S. Years before Amy Winehouse garnered international attention with Back To Black, the sassy British Soul singer put herself on the U.K. music map with her 2003 debut, Frank. Nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, the record glides along on the subtly jazzy production of Salaam Remi, which allows Winehouse's expressive voice, strongly influenced by Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington, to shine, particularly on the Trip-Hop-tinged 'Stronger Than Me,' the powerful 'You Sent Me Flying,' and the sultry 'I Heard Love Is Blind.' Although not quite as consistent or daring as her subsequent album, Frank is an impressive first outing that should win over anyone swooning from Back To Black.
With her debut album Frank, Amy Winehouse proves to be one of the most original, honest, and brave singer/songwriters to emerge in recent years. Over the course of the 13 songs, she manages to do everything required of a classic album. This is a stark piece of work, comprising husky, frequently sexually charged vocals, painfully honest lyrics and soft trumpets, laidback beats, and sparse guitar work. It seems that soulful jazz doesn't always have to be bland--it can also be playful, twisted, and arrogant ("Amy Amy Amy"). "F*** Me Pumps" charts a seemingly guilt-free act of infidelity: "What do you expect when you leave me here alone?" she asks coyly, as if by way of justifiable explanation. "You wouldn't want me to be lonely," she adds. You can't help warming to her, despite what she's saying. A unique sense of humour (how rare in music now) and a no-bull attitude make for an interesting, compelling debut. Frank? Yes, but refreshingly so. You wouldn't want her for a girlfriend, but as a life companion she may yet prove indispensable. --Cortman Virtue