So, when I first heard Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album I thought: cool. A refitting of those standard ’50’s and ’60’s motown background beats with a little modern revision and some actual bass. Great. Everything works out. Except her lyrics were much more modern and concerning questionable things. But that was really the only difference. But now that I look at it, this has been the direction for a while.

Iguess the Indie bands had the idea first really. They kept alive to old traditions without much addition. Take Guster’s “All the Way Up to Heaven” to feel like they’ve done nothing to the Beach Boys’ style except added whistling–which is still in the same vein. And that came out in 1999. Or really, just listen to most of Spoon’s album Kill the Moonlight, which draws heavily on the style of the lesser bands from the British invasion, and the funky/psychedelia of the ’70s. Then there’s the almost Mamas and the Papas style of the current indie band She and Him. It’s all been around for a while, in one form or another: blatant borrowing. Good borrowing. Worthwhile borrowing. But borrowing nonetheless.

And the big name now: Duffy (who I like). He beats, her music, much like Amy Winehouse is a very obvious note taken from motown. If I could compare her to anyone ti would be a modern motown version of Dusty Springfield. Decidedly British, decidedly a very good singer. With the solid band background emphasizing the drums and, in the case of Mercy, the keyboard sounding like an organ, a few stringed instruments to emphasize the drama and importance of the chorus, and a few very classic background singers “hoo hoo”-ing and “yeah, yeah, yeah”-ing in the background. (They probably have matching outfits and hairdos.) Let me see if I can find that anywhere else.

Why not try Betty Everett’s “Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”, or Little Eva doing “The Locomotion”? It’s not like she stole the hook to Heat Wave, but I think it’s great that this style of music is going through a major revitalization in a big way, considering Duffy is all over the British Billboards these days, and Amy Winehouse’s Rehab single was a huge success last year. At least, I heard about it. Which means it was at least a little popular.

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