Beyonce & Andre 3000 cover Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”: okay or offensive?

I understand that “Back to Black” was one of Amy Winehouse’s most famous and most loved songs, but my favorite was always “You Know I’m No Good”. I will shed a tear when some teenage pop star decides that he or she can do “You Know I’m No Good” better than the original. But for fans of “Back to Black,” this is perhaps a dark day. So, when director Baz Luhrmann decided to direct a new version of The Great Gatsby, he chose Jay-Z as the producer of the soundtrack. Jay in turn grabbed his wife to do a cover of Amy’s “Back to Black”. Beyonce and Andre 3000, to be more specific. We already heard a small snippet of the song in one of the Gatsby trailers, but here’s an extended version. It’s super-annoying because the radio station that got first dibs on it decided to throw their radio promo all over it AND they’re talking over it. But this is the only version we have:

Quite honestly, if I had never heard Amy Winehouse’s original, I would probably be into this. It has a cool sound, and I like the anticipatory tingles, like it’s going to be used for some really great, anxious moment in the film. Maybe the youngsters who see this film will be into this version because they really don’t have any grasp of the flash of brilliance in Winehouse’s “Back to Black”. Shall we listen to the original too? I think we should.

Mark Ronson produced Amy’s Back to Black song and album, and when asked about Beyonce’s cover, Ronson said “It’s a wonderful… take on our song. I’m flattered and honoured, I know Amy would be too.” But! Amy’s father Mitch tweeted: “I just heard the Andre part of Back to Black. Terrible. He should have let Beyonce do it all.” Reportedly, Beyonce and Jay-Z had to pay six-figures for the rights to Amy’s song. I don’t know… maybe they should have just bought the song and used the original version, you know?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

113 Responses to “Beyonce & Andre 3000 cover Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”: okay or offensive?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Apples says:

    More like BLAND- and I like both artists, but Amy Winehouse did it better.

  2. Gossip Garl says:

    Singing (ACTING LIKE YOUR A WRITER<WHEN YOUR NOT) other people's song cause you cant right doesnt make you a great entertainer.clueless people do.

  3. paola says:

    I think this is offensive. Amy’s version was dark and soulful, you could almost feel the pain in her voice.. Beyoncè has too much of a sweet voice for this song in my opinion.

  4. Cleveland Girl says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. Eleonor says:

    This cover is awful.
    What’s the point of the “radio” thing??
    And Beyonce with the sexy voice is simply out of contest.
    They should have bought the original song, that would be a great movie-song.
    I’ve always thought Back to Black would be a great Bond theme song

    • Lindsay says:

      So they don’t get caught by the record company who has a computer program that scans for songs. The talking was just annoying though and didn’t need to be there. The only other option is changing the entire tune of the song and take it up or down a bit.

  6. Pixie says:

    Hmm. No patch on Amy’s original version but was that to be expected? I think Beyonce’s song will go well with the film (from what I’ve seen from trailers). All in all, I’m going to reserve judgement til I’ve seen the Great Gatsby. But thanks Celebitchy, I’m now going to spend my day listening to Amy’s albums!

  7. Di says:

    The original was a thousand times better. I’ve grown tired of Beyonce’s ubiquitousness.

  8. SydneySpy says:

    Yeah, just as I thought. Shit.

  9. Andrea says:

    I don’t think it’s offensive to cover the song but there is an arrogance present in taking a song like this and covering it so soon after the woman’s death. If it was 10 years from now, I might feel differently.

  10. Veronika Knowles says:

    It’s a sad day when I, Veronika Knowles, second cousin twice removed , actively hate a Bey track. Andre’s part could give you ear herpes… Bey rocks her part of course…

  11. Earth to Kelly says:

    Well, they COULD HAVE just bought the rights and used the original song, but how would Beyonce slap her name and fake hair on that?

    • Emma13 says:

      I just legitimately LOL’ed.

    • Erin says:

      That is the most perfect comment in this thread… It’s all about Beyonce slapping her name on it, she literally steals ideas from everyone, for her shows, songs, costumes, choreography , videos..

      Beyonce has never had a original thought or idea in her life… Her big come back this year was copying what Madonna did the year before Beyonce did the Super Bowl, (while wearing a get- up she copied from one Tina Tuner wore 30 years before) album release and tour… because her album looks like it will suck ass , they keep delaying the release until the tour practally finished they don’t want to get bad press, dampen ticket sells.

  12. Dawn says:

    I don’t find it offensive but I do find it lacking. The song is just off as if the point of it has been missed. I for one am not a fan of this interpretation.

  13. Renee says:

    I think that it’s offensive not because it “didn’t live up to the brilliance of the original” but because of Andre 3000/Benjamin’s part. I hate that they have him performing the part of the cad…it just seems so misogynist somehow…I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is about it that bothers me. I think that it has something to do with the fact that he couldn’t perform the song as the protagonist and allow himself to come across as vulnerable…which would have made more sense considering the plot of The Great Gatsby.

    Beyonce comes across as lacking emotion and as insincere since she seems to be more concerned with delivering a “perfect” performance than in connecting emotionally with the work. Either a young Lauryn Hill or Mary J. Blige would have delivered a stronger performance. Or P.J. Harvey.

  14. Tapioca says:

    It’s truly horrible – Andre 3000′s part more so than hers, but still!

    Does anyone know if Beyonce’s tried to claim a writer’s credit yet?

  15. skilo says:

    Really offensive. Bad form on their part. Amy Winehouse sang with a kind of soul to her music that Beyonce will never have.

  16. cutelittlehappything says:

    Oooh, I can’t wait for Beyonce’s video! I hope she has a dance-off with her past self in the mirror, wears Daisy Dukes, twerks, has a smug look on her face, and cracks open a Pepsi at the end! In the meantime, Andre sits in the corner, brooding over his DIET Pepsi. Honestly, does Beyonce have to spackle herself on EVERYTHING?

  17. QueenFreddie says:

    Beyonce sounds out of breath, trying to sound soulful and Andre doesn’t sound right for the song. Amy died 3-4 years ago it still feels too soon to start remaking her music. Just use the original.

  18. DanaG says:

    Beyonce can’t connect with the song and you can tell. Amy had an amazing voice with such soul with Beyonce just doesn’t have she needs to still to the fluffy no real emotional sounds about her big booty and single ladies. Nothing too deep for Bey. Andre he just sucks but he usually does. Jay Z failed he produced it and he didn’t get a good performance from either. At least he get’s to sleep with Beyonce. No one should try and cover Amy’s stuff yet it’s too her and you need an edge which is something Beyonce will never have.

  19. Faye says:

    Eh, not as good as the original, but that’s to be expected. And Jay-Z and Beyonce would never just use someone else’s track — everything always has to be about them and their unique “style.”

    I like Baz Luhrman’s work, but sometimes I think he goes a step too far in being “edgy” and crosses over into “ridiculous.” I don’t even see this song as fitting with “The Great Gatsby” as a story.

  20. Hakura says:

    I.. The song with Beyonce/Andre… It’s beyond horrible… Everything is disjointed (where in Amy’s there’s only certain places with small pauses for anticipation), The ‘echo’ voice effect was abused. Beyonce, even though capable of it to *some* extent, didn’t sound AT ALL soulful. It’s like a wanna-be sexy voice that’s just not appropriate for this song.

    Didn’t expect a miracle or for it to be better than Amy’s, but damn, I didn’t think it’d be this awful. Not to mention my ‘perfect pitch’ cringe-worthy misery it caused. There were very unfortunate missed notes.

  21. poppy says:

    what in the GD weak bs is that mess?
    trying to recreate the haunting quality of the original by making it sloooooower and adding 1984/halloween/808 synth-y nonsense? FAIL.
    if your performers can’t capture the original essence, paring it down to 3 elements shows a serious lack of judgment.
    NO

  22. lisa says:

    of course the original was 10,000 times better

    i dont know how it is used in the movie though. in the book, daisy is rather empty, not good or bad just pretty and empty. maybe’s bey’s song suits that better than the original.

  23. Charlotte says:

    Did anyone else think that Beyonce was wearing a robotic leg in the first shot? I didn’t even question it because it seemed so outrageous-for-the-sake-of-it and thus part of the ensemble.

  24. L says:

    The back beat is HORRIBLE. Andre’s part is just blech, and why did they cut out all the chorus’ until the end? And that echo voice affect is horrible.

    Just no. Awful awful stuff.

  25. pretty says:

    Beyonce’s voice is just not attractive or pretty, beautiful.

    She has just a powerful voice and lung (?) and that’s all.

    In this song, she tries to soften her voice but it makes me just cringe so hard .

  26. tifzlan says:

    This is so bad. I love Amy’s entire album, and behind every song, she puts a certain emotion that transforms the song. Beyonce doesn’t have that. Especially for this particular song. I don’t like Beyonce at all, but this just sounded really bad.

  27. Ellie66 says:

    Damn I miss Amy Winehouse. :( . Im so sick of Beyonce ! And they just fucked up this song. Why couldn’t they use the original they had to mess it up. Andre 2000 is terrible the whole thing sounds like a bunch of howling cats. Yuck and blah to them! :( RIP Amy!

  28. Harriet says:

    Wow. I liked it. Including the Andre 3000 part. I didn’t think it was offensive it’s just a cover. Everyone does covers. Ah well, each to their own.

  29. Mar says:

    Ok- I like it. I like the music- kind of reminds me of Portishead from Pulp Fiction.
    I don’t like Beyonce’s music but I really am into her in this track-so I’m in the minority.

  30. HolaGatito says:

    I love both Andre 3000 and Beyonce… and I think the song sounds cool. My problem is that this song did NOT need to be remade. The original was best.

  31. A says:

    God even Beyonce’s voice annoy me these days.

  32. Lem says:

    Why would they NOT use Amy’s version?
    If, your setting is the 1920′s… you want Amy’s voice… not Andre 3000. and never Beyonce. It’s a no brainer except that Jay Z’s involved.
    Beyonce sounds like when my kids cover Adele. it just doesn’t cut it!

  33. apsutter says:

    This is terrible. Why didn’t they just use the original? Why does Bey think she needs to be on everything?!

  34. moon says:

    “Beyonce and Jay-Z had to pay six-figures for the rights to Amy’s song. I don’t know… maybe they should have just bought the song and used the original version, you know?”

    Nah, Bey’s ego is too big.

  35. Greenie says:

    I expected the worst and it did not disappoint. It is far more horrible than I could have ever imagined. What a sacrilege.

  36. Mingy says:

    They really should have used Amy’s version, which was haunting, melancholic, and just beautiful. This?..awful..just ugh.

  37. DGO says:

    Unbelievably awful, and what’s with the big ole diaper Beyonce’s sporting in the first shot?

  38. Lem says:

    kaiser: you left out my favorite parts of Mitch’s quote:
    Paraphrasing he said, Bey paid $100,000 to the Amy Winehouse Foundation to cover ‘Back to Black’ which is helping many children and she was welcome to cover any other songs because he needs the money.

  39. LAK says:

    “”It’s like a wanna-be sexy voice that’s just not appropriate for this song”"

    That’s what i thought too. She’s going for sexy…..

  40. apsutter says:

    Amy lived every second of sadness on that album. Major feels on every song. Meanwhile Beyonce has the appearance and demeanor of a pop star robot who’s never had an honest feeling her entire life. Everything is so contrived with her.

    • NM9005 says:

      This.

      There is no rawness and pain like Winehouse had. She was a great singer and an even better songwriter.

      Beyonce is a machine who relies on other people to write generic non-offensive ‘sexy’ songs. She’s too protected, controlled and manufactured to sing a song about real-life problems.

      • TheOneAndOnly says:

        Exactly, there’s no soul to bouncy because she’s a soulless product; What I can’t understand is the media fawning over this at best mediocrity; Everyone on this site, and others,knows there’s a wealth of info on all her actual backstory, yet the media treats her like a Goddess – What gives with that? And please can the backlash to seeing her vacant face everywhere soon begin, Anything to knock her off her silly tiara pageant pedestal.

      • NM9005 says:

        The only reason why people say/think she’s a Goddess is because Beyonce said that :) .

  41. McKenzie says:

    You all are being a bit too dramatic about this. While I don’t think it’s the greatest cover ever, you have to consider the style of the movie. Baz Luhrmann is the director, producer and writer of this film…Moulin Rouge anyone?!The cover fits this film.

  42. MST says:

    This is a bit off topic, but it seems like Beyonce is getting whiter and whiter. Is is just the lighting or skin lightneer or — WTF? Soon she’s going to look like her BFF Goopy.

  43. Jillian says:

    OFFENSIVE. Beyonces voice is nowhere near where it should be for this song.

  44. michoko says:

    Andre 3000 SHOULD have been the only one singing,Beyonce’s soulless voice and mannerisms is an insult to the raw emotion of the original version.
    And Jay Z, U should have used more of Jack White’s pure genius , having an amazing artist at hand and let it go (mostly) to waste is a crime! fo’ shame

  45. Abby says:

    Just coming over here to say watching Amy’s video makes me miss her talent. It’s such a shame that she’s gone and that she never could beat her demons.

    I’m a terrible person, but I get mad at Lindsay Lohan for doing the stuff she’s done for years and still living on when people like Amy and Heath Ledger are gone far too soon.

    RIP Amy. I’ve got no opinion on Beyonce’s version, but I will be watching The Great Gatsby.

  46. HK9 says:

    I don’t think it’s offensive, but it’s so bad, I don’t know how Bey and Andre 3000 aren’t embarrassed. A truly innovative idea would be to get Mark Ronson to do a remix of the original tune, and or get a real musician (Hans Zimmer/ Ennio Morcone) to do the song instrumentally and break it down throughout the movie for the soundtrack. Now that would be really haunting, but alas, you have to have a real imagination for that. :-)

  47. Abby says:

    Ok changed my mind on the new version. Awful. Awful!! I’d only heard the clip that was on the Gatsby trailer and there was nothing wrong with it. WHAT IS THIS??

  48. MBP says:

    I’m not offended per se, but it’s atrocious!
    The backing is cringeworthy, Andre 3000 needs to not be there, and Beyonce just does her empty trilling over the top.

    I don’t object to covers though – try this one for size http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLaff23Gb5E

  49. Georgina says:

    I’m no fan of this. I don’t like Beyonce’s music, I don’t like her attitude, and I definitely don’t like this cover. They should have just used the Amy version as it’s infinitely superior.

  50. HappyJoyJoy says:

    Ugh. I can’t. I just can’t. Andre absolutely murdered the song & not in a good way. This is is a dark song that comes from a place of hurt, why is she singing it mid-orgasm? Some things are better left untouched. Beyonce needs to hide in a dark hole for a few years. GO AWAY!

  51. Jaana says:

    The Illuminati had Amy Winehouse dealt with and now the “Queen” Beyonce has her song.

  52. Chutzpah says:

    Personally I think if they HAD to do a cover it should have been Andre 3000 all the way through, a male voice cover would have been a different take on the song, so far removed from Amy it wouldn’t be as offensive.

    Anyway I just cant with Beys faux mariah warbling. Beats good – though nicked?

  53. Flora Kitty says:

    Andre 3000 kind of sounds like the wheelchair from Malcolm in the Middle. Beyonce sound ok.

  54. Stoner says:

    I think I can see who Amy inherited her addict gene from, because Mitch Winehouse is high as hell if he thinks Andre3000 was the worst part of that horrible rendition of that song – Beyonce is freakin’ UNBEARABLE.

  55. I Choose Me says:

    Gah, I can’t get to listen to it at work. Based on the comments, maybe I should be grateful?

  56. Kelly says:

    I like it! It is a whole different take on the original as any cover should be.
    Nobody can sing the song like Amy and that’s not the aim of the cover.They tried to do something far from the original and suitable for a movie and in my opinion they succeeded in it! And this comes from a huge Amy fan :)

  57. TxGal says:

    I can’t stand BeYonCe. She is as bad as her buddy FishStick.

  58. serena says:

    They wouldn’t have bought it anyway, because Beyonce is the star and she has to do it all. I’m not a huge fan of Amy but she was a great singer and this new version really bring it all down.

  59. Mia says:

    This is horrifying and they both sound ridiculous. I also don’t think Amy’s even been dead long enough to have people doing remakes of her songs, nevermind sub-par remakes like this. They should have just used the original. “You know I’m no Good” was always my favorite Amy Winehouse song too!

  60. Mourning the Death of Music says:

    NO! Just, NO!

  61. Cherryberry says:

    This chick has exploited every possible ‘pop’ persona. She’s done songs about ‘her roots’ and ‘falling in love’ and being all ‘independant woman’ and now ‘having a baby.’ What could she possibly give us now besides the YAWNS

  62. diva says:

    As much as I love Andre 3000 I don’t like this AT ALL. They shouldn’t have touched the original. They could have just used Amy’s version in the movie and introduced her music to people who may not have know how talented she was. Amy Winehouse music catalog>>>>>>anything Beyonce has ever made

  63. Str8Shooter says:

    God, this girl is unbelievable! Amy Winehouse was a POWERHOUSE talent, singer-songwriter…made some amazing music, truly a talent like no other.

    Now this overrated prima donna with a sh*tty voice and horrible rhythm is going to remake it?

    Just. Wow.

  64. Str8Shooter says:

    And let’s not forget what her and that horrible girl group she was in did to the Bee Gees’ ‘Emotion’.

    She sucks, plain and simple. No talent.

  65. Sarah says:

    Is it just me or does the Beyonce song use the riff from Blondie’s Atomic in the beginning? How unoriginal can she get?