It’s so easy to get caught up in the saga of Amy Winehouse that you can often forget why you paid attention to her in the first place: her music. As though in direct response to the chaos that’s swirled around her all summer, the singer’s first post-rehab appearance at Tuesday’s Mercury Prize ceremony in London was shockingly stark. Amy appeared on stage with just one man lightly plucking his guitar in accompaniment to her preternaturally weathered vocals. Here, singing “Love Is a Losing Game,” Amy does what she does best, balancing coolness with gut-wrenching emotion…or maybe she’s just making being emotional look cool. Proof of the song’s title is scratched all over Amy’s public profile, which is why this understated performance is so beautiful: we’re treated to an unlikely moment when Amy’s demons have seemed to settle. For these three minutes, everything is OK in the Winehouse universe and that feels monumental. All things considered, this really could be the performance of her career so far.
Though nominated, Amy didn’t end up taking home the Mercury Prize (that went to nu-ravers the Klaxons), but we’d be hard-pressed to call this return to form anything but winning. It’s magical. [Via Dlisted]