The Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy released her celebrated debut album, Rockferry, in 2008, with her throwback style prompting comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield. The album won a Grammy for Best Pop Album and sold more copies than any other record in the UK that year (it was fourth worldwide).
Now here’s a blast from the past. In 2008, Duffy rode the Amy Winehouse retro pop wave to a hit record, ‘Mercy,’ from her debut album, Rockferry.
She was never heard from again!
That’s not exactly true. She released a sophomore album, Endlessly, two years later and was met with shrugs from critics and record buyers alike. Then nothing.
Ten Best Songs of 2008 – #10
Over the next ten days, my Songs of the Day will count down what I consider the best songs of 2008, with a maximum of one song per album.
It’s interesting that a few of my top ten albums failed to produce a song on this list… I suppose every song on those albums is a B or an A but nothing is an A+.
The flip side is a song like today’s track (#10), Duffy’s ‘Distant Dreamer,’ which comes from an album that didn’t crack my top ten.
I bought her debut album, Rockferry, earlier this year and I’m very impressed by it. It’s a cross between Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse, borrowing the best bits from each. She’s not boring like Jones, but she’s not a gutter junkie like Winehouse… she’s just an English lass with a great soulful voice who writes songs that put a modern twist on 60s classics. She seemed to be the real deal.
Duffy could perhaps best be described as a blonde Amy Winehouse with fewer tattoos and a less tumultuous personal life. The Brit’s debut album strikes the same old-fashioned girl-group vibe as Winehouse’s celebrated Back to Black, with crisp modern production to match.
But such comparisons are a disservice to a young woman who has put out a record even stronger than Winehouse’s. Comparisons to Dusty Springfield are overreaching but not too far off base on this album’s extraordinary opening and closing tracks — ‘Rockferry,’ the title track, a slow builder that shows off both her vocal and songwriting chops; and ‘Distant Dreamer,’ a soaring slice of 60s pop perfection so genuine you’ll swear it must be a cover of a Ronnie Spector classic.