The friendship between Amy Winehouse and Libertines frontman Pete Doherty always made sense: They were two sides of the same coin, precocious, tabloid-prone British musicians whose sheer talent was marred by constant struggles with drug abuse and depression. Winehouse tragically succumbed to those struggles in 2011, but Doherty, thankfully, is now clean after several months of rehab. He’s marked his return with “Flags of the Old Regime,” a poignant tribute to Winehouse that pairs his poetic lyrics with some sublime orchestration.
The song isn’t exactly new: it’s been circulating in various formats since Doherty wrote it following Winehouse’s death. But it’s truly moving in final form. Doherty’s Cockney warble is stronger than its been in years, and his lament for a friend’s last days (“You stand up there in front of the whole wide world/ And you don’t feel them songs no more”) evokes a raw and acute sense of mourning. All proceeds from the single will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.