It’s been very difficult for me to watch Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse fall apart. Both Celebrity Skin and Back to Black came out at times when it felt like I needed precisely that record, the blast of independence and disdain, the decision to manage grief by dressing it up and embracing it. I trust both of these manifestly unreliable women because at one point, they gave me something I needed, before I could even articulate that I needed it…And so I want Amy Winehouse and Courtney Love to be there for me, to anticipate that next moment of great musical need. What a fool I am.
Amy Winehouse spent much of her life battling addictions that the music industry first treated as signs of sexy defiance and later as a massive and inexplicable waste of her talent. I had given up wanting or expecting more music, and simply held out vain hope she wouldn’t die. No matter what the video for “Valerie” suggests, she is not replaceable: