Remembering Amy Winehouse: 10 of Her Best Lyrics

Amy was a visionary, and her lyrics—always honest, always vulnerable and yet strong—were some of her finest contributions.

Amy Winehouse was a musical visionary, and she left behind an everlasting legacy through her artistic contributions.

Before she died at only 27 years old, she gifted the world with her talents, strength, and open-hearted honesty, which always shone through, particularly during her live performances.

She was exceptional in every sense—her performances, visual aesthetic, and musical compositions all wound together to make her the icon she is today. Through it all, her lyrics were always one of her most powerful tools. She had the ability to cut straight to the heart of extreme emotions with a few searing lines, making her songs the sort that can be played over and over. Here are some of her greatest lyrics.

Image via Udiscovermusic

1. "This 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 / Moon spilling in / And I wake up alone."

These lyrics, from Back to Black's "Wake Up Alone," showcase Amy's ability to paint pictures with her words. Her lyrics told stories of late nights, private desires, and dreamlike sequences, and that's part of what made her songs feel almost mystical, though they're about relatively ordinary human experiences.

2. "I cheated myself / Like I knew I would, I told you I was trouble / You know that I'm no good."

"You Know I'm No Good" is one of Winehouse's most powerful songs. Its honesty and clarity paints the picture of a conflicted woman, tormented by her demons but at least clear-eyed enough to look them straight on. These lyrics are both strong and vulnerable at the same time, something that could also be said of Winehouse herself.

3. "I can't help ya if you won't help yourself."

These lyrics from the song "Help Yourself" show that some of Winehouse's most searing, powerful lines were her most straightforward. Though she was honest about her vulnerability, she was also perpetually strong and intelligent about her capabilities as a lover and healer.

4. "Over futile odds / And laughed at by the gods / And now the final frame / Love is a losing game."

"Love Is a Losing Game" finds Winehouse coming to terms with her unluckiness in love, comparing relationships to a rigged game. Lyrics such as these have long provided solace and strength to anyone who's found themselves lamenting the difficulty and transience of relationships.

5. "I died a hundred times / You go back to her / And I go back to black."

"Back to Black" is amazingly simple, elegant, and concise, and it showcases Amy's songwriting abilities at their absolute peak. Sassy, whip-sharp, and devastating, "Back to Black" is definitely one of the most iconic songs of the 21st century—in large part thanks to its shatteringly astute lyrics.

6. "Will you still love me tomorrow?"

The 1960 song "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" tells the story of someone finding themselves happy in a relationship, feeling like it's all too good to be true and worrying it could all disappear in the morning. Winehouse delivers one of the best covers in the long history of the beautiful song, lifting up one stunning lyric after another, while always remaining simple and straightforward, tapping into the heart of an all-too-common human fear.

7. "Everything is slowing down / River of no return / You recognize my every sound / There's nothing new to learn."

These lyrics from "In My Bed" showcase the innermost thoughts of a woman who's growing tired or unhappy with her lover, and they express the sadness of the realization that a relationship has run its course.

8. "I cannot play myself again / I should just be my own best friend, not f**k myself in the head with stupid men."

These are words to live by for anyone who's spent too much time in unhealthy relationships. Winehouse's blunt delivery spends no time hiding in metaphor; instead, she shouts her revelations from the rooftops, proclaiming the magic of her own independence.

9. "The lights are on, but no one's home / She's so vacant her soul is taken."

These lyrics from "He Can Only Hold Her" depict a woman halfway in the world and half out of it, lost and detached because of too much hurt, trying to start again but still trapped in the past. It's a heart-wrenching admission of pain from a woman who would eventually lose the fight with her demons, but whose music remains a guiding light for everyone else looking to see that they're not alone.

10. "They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no / Yes, I been black / But when I come back, you'll know, know, know."

"Rehab" finds Winehouse's wit piercing through, changing a dark subject into an upbeat, joyful proclamation of independence. Amy never let anyone control her—if anything, she was too wild and free, but it was always on her terms. This song is the definition of bittersweet, as its lyrics are joyful and devastating at the same time.

BONUS: "Her name is Cherry. We've just met / But already she knows me better than you / She understands me / After eighteen years / And you still don't see me like you ought to do."

Nobody knows exactly who this early track is addressed to—some think it's Amy's mother, an early lover, her father or the general public—but "Cherry" definitely refers to Winehouse's beloved guitar. Any musician or artist can understand the feeling that your guitar or other instrument understands and knows you far better than any human being ever has. Winehouse may have struggled in her relationships with people, but she certainly was a master of her art, and she managed to connect to millions through her solitary relationship with her guitars and her lyrics. Because of that, she'll live on forever as one of music's most beloved sirens, and as an icon of heartbreak and of power.

With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.

Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.

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These 10 "Buseyisms" Will Save Us All

"L-A-U-G-H: Looking And Understanding Goofy Humans." Gary Busey offers his personal acronyms as the cure to the Internet.


Yes, modern existence is a vortex of talking heads and ad blitzes, but Gary Busey wants you to remember what "FREEDOM" really stands for: "Facing Real Exciting Energy Developing Out of Miracles."

If you'd like that codified in a motivational self-help book (and of course you do), guru Busey already sensed your need—you can purchase Buseyisms: Gary Busey's Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. In September, the notoriously eccentric actor published a memoir featuring his collection of personal acronyms, which has long confused and overjoyed the internet since the early 2000s.

Within the book, Busey waxes lyrical about his life and violates the integrity of acronyms in various ways. He muses: "I take the letters that spell a word to create a definition for the word in the truth of its deeper, dimensional meaning. I weave in my personal anecdotes along with my musings on how I live life successfully according to my experiences." He warns, "I may turn concepts you usually believe in upside down with my bizarre stories, but that comes with the dinner. These are my life lessons, my B.I.B.L.E.—Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth."

The weirdest fact about Gary Busey today might be that he was a generically good-looking guy in the 1970s. After all, he had the looks and acting chops to become a Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated actor for The Buddy Holly Story (1978) before starring as the runner-up bad guy in Lethal Weapon (1987).

Seriously, Busey in the '70s

Fast forward to the 2000s, however, and the manic, cocaine-fueled actor appeared on a slew of reality TV shows that effectively transformed his persona into a walking meme. Of particular note is the exploitative parade of train wrecks that was Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. In season 2, Busey alarmed and fascinated America with his erratic behavior, leapfrogging thought processes, and now-signature unkempt appearance.

I don't mean to gloss over the fact that Busey's mania is partly attributed to a near fatal motorcycle accident in 1988, in which the actor wasn't wearing a helmet and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Because that would make me a "BULLY: Big Ugly Loud Loser Yahoo." Here are 10 of the best Buseyisms to recall in times of crisis and existential despair.

1. TRUTH: Taking Real Understanding to Heart

2. FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

3. TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

4. FAILING: Finding An Important Lesson, Inviting Needed Growth

5. GONE: Getting Over Negative Energy

6. RELATIONSHIP: Really Excited Love Affair Till It's Over, Now Sobriety Hangs In Peril

7. NOW: No Other Way

8. FILM: Feelings Illuminated Like Magic

9. HAT: Hiding A Toupee

10. SOBER: Son Of a Bitch, Everything's Real

For a dramatic reading by the author himself, see below:

Gary Busey's famous "Buseyisms"

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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