Music is created to express emotions, to become a different person, to be transported into a different time — even for just a couple of minutes. It is an elixir and an escape route to our everyday mundane routines. Duffy’s 2008 album Rockferry makes me feel exactly that, as if I am transported into the 1960s, wearing a red and white polka dot dress while walking into a psychedelic room filled with Sam Cooke posters and vinyl records of The Supremes.
Since music is ephemeral, artists tend to bring old music into their new content to create an eternal pastiche. It seems that in Western pop culture, the concept of intertwining past music greats to influence our modern songs is an evergoing trend. Duffy’s Grammy award-winning album Rockferry is an example of this. The album is filled with dulcet and jaded lyrics mixed with bluesy undertones, beautifully interwoven with nostalgic blue soul.
My personal favorite, “Warwick Avenue,” is the perfect representation of a collection of multiple genres. At 19 years old, Duffy was familiarizing herself with the London Underground and accidentally found herself at the Warwick Avenue station; she then wrote the song the following day. The lyrics When I get to Warwick Avenue, meet me by the entrance of the Tube. We can talk things over a little time, promise me you won’t step outta line compliment the album’s jaded undertones.
“Warwick Avenue” was the second single released from the album, following the debut limited edition single “Rockferry” in November 2007. It was then followed by “Mercy”, which went straight to number one. Moreover, with “Mercy,” Duffy became the First Welsh woman to achieve number one on the UK Singles chart since 1983.
Rockferry was a commercial success, reaching number one in multiple music markets and earning Duffy several accolades. The album became the best-selling album in the United Kingdom in 2008 with 1.68 million copies sold and was certified Platinum several times by the RIAA. It sold more than 7 million copies and was the fourth best selling album of 2008 worldwide.
In the United Kingdom, Rockferry was in the top five for a full year after its release. The album has won several number of awards since then, which includes the Grammy Award for the Best Pop Vocal Album in the 51st Grammy Awards. Furthermore, the Welsh songstress won three awards at the 2009 BRIT awards, including Best British Album, British breakthrough, and Best British Female.
Duffy’s album, Rockferry, will always have a special place in my vinyl shelf. Her nostalgia for the blues and soul, intertwined with her mellifluous lyrics is an understated reflection of an era brought back to life.