What Amy's music really revealed

Back to Black turns 10 - though it was raw and confessional it didn't reveal the whole truth about the artist's struggles, writes Fraser McAlpine.

The factors that combine to create a world-beating album are often whisper-soft, tissue-thin and impossible to recapture.

Talent plays a key role, but so does timing, judgment and a great deal of good luck.

In the case of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, released 10 years ago today, the talent was undeniable, but her personal judgement was questionable even when her artistic decisions were beyond reproach; her perfect timing was ultimately a mixed blessing; and whatever luck surrounded her quickly flip-flopped from bad to good, and then back again with renewed vigour.

The autobiographical stuff has been raked over enough: a girl met a boy. He was in a relationship he didn't want to end, but the attraction between them was too strong to overcome.

His ambivalence fuelled her easily triggered feelings of low self-esteem; from which the only escape was to drink or take drugs until something felt different.

This lead to a series of bleak, drunken episodes and ultimately some kind of intervention, in which friends and family tried to encourage her to look after herself.

Deep in the throes of addiction and with the skills of denial developed from a lifetime hiding an eating disorder, she bullishly insisted she was fine, while desperately throwing everything, utterly everything, into the lyrics for her new album as her sole salvation.

It's at this point the talent takes over. The 11 songs Amy Winehouse wrote for Back to Black are a poetic response to chaotic feelings. Sometimes they are philosophical and poised - as in Love is a Losing Game - sometimes they're stroppy and tough.

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