What Do Artists Owe Us, And Themselves?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/djdurutti/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

blackink12’s post over at PostBourgie about D’Angelo’s dissolution and creative decline really struck me yesterday. This, in particular stood out to me:

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“I feel like there’s a book with a bookmark in it,” says (former manager Dominique) Trenier. “Two albums? That can’t be it for this guy. He’s got so much music in him.”But does he really?

I alluded to this in my mixtape last Friday, but 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. While I don’t particularly feel like it’s Me Against the World, or the Machine, or Whatever, and I definitely don’t feel like holidng an elaborate funeral for my own heart (though, what style), I remain wary of the possibility that I may need a bulwark against those sentiments again. 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. blackink12 is wise when he says “D’Angelo has already exceeded my wildest expectations, and I didn’t realize it until it was over. I have everything I ever needed. And I hope D’Angelo can say the same.” Amy and Courtney will get better, or not, independent of their talent and my desire for its expression. And while, as Courtney put it, “I want to be the girl with the most cake,” I’ll try to be content with what I have.