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Music Review: Duffy – Rockferry

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The best album of 2008 is Duffy’s Rockferry.

There I said it. You can stop reading now.

In all sincerity, it’s probably better to simply pick up the Welsh singer’s debut and bask in its brilliance. Duffy – that’s Aimee Anne Duffy – is part of a collective known loosely and rather garishly as “the new Amys” in an obvious reference to The Winehouse. In the business of comparisons, it’s not a bad one.

With speakers blaring in the living room and a gargantuan glass of wine on the table, Duffy’s Rockferry took flight much in the same way that Back to Black took flight for me. First, there’s a simple recognition along the lines of “Oh shit, that voice!” Second, the music sets in and forms a sort of snug cocoon around the listener as if to suggest there’s no escape. Third, the record ends a little over a half hour later with little by way of memory and an easy feeling of opaque elation remains.

A second listen demands a clearer head, which for me meant waiting until morning. Awake, I head for the stereo and throw a wink at Duffy’s blonde head on the cover of Rockferry. After pressing PLAY, the piano at the beginning of the title track jars me and the obscenely overwhelming voice, this fucking marvellous voice, begins to fiddle with my inner workings.

“Rockferry” is one of those songs that simply call out to be listened to. When Duffy ventures into the higher registry during the latter half of the song, one easily imagines Joss Stone looking on invidiously. Her power is incontestable and her vocal control is simply confounding.

The title track was a hell of a thing to live up to, but this Welsh Wonder doubles up and drives fervently and mightily through melodic ready-for-excessive-rotation hits like “Warwick Avenue” and the extraordinary “Delayed Devotion.”

Duffy’s song-writing – yeah she does that – is ballsy and persuasive. On “Syrup and Honey,” she implores the subject “Don't you be wasting all your money on syrup and honey/Because I’m sweet enough.” And she courteously channels a bit of Dusty Springfield for the album’s final track, the gorgeous “Distant Dreamer.”

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter much if Duffy or The Winehouse winds up singing me to sleep, as both are seamlessly brilliant women. Duffy’s poignant intonations are hard to resist and Rockferry is the perfect debut album for a certain star.

In fact, she might have us saying “Amy who?” before we know it.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Hmmm. Album of the year huh? Well, since I’ve never heard this artist I’ll just go off the Amy Winehouse comparisons I guess. Thats good enough for me.

    -Glen

  • Dave

    That is a good and fair review. Nice job.

    Duffy is up for three MOJO awards tonight (June 16): Breakthrough Artist; Song of the Year (Mercy); and Album of the Year (Rockferry). She should – but is by no means certain to – take all three.

  • klaus radtke

    Just ought rockferry last month and i am addicted to it,i play that c d more than any others i own which is many.This woman is hard not to listen to,and wit till she finds her big hit,even though mercy was a terriffic launch,this woman with the right ppl behind her can just blow anyone out of the water.and so looking foward to any new c d she puts out,everyone that i loan rockferry to,has kept it for a while,and agrees that she is no flash in the pan,its simply pure talent and she sings from her heart he voice just blows me away awesome looking women too.i love her!