A week ago today, the talented young British R&B/pop singer Amy Winehouse died. I think I can sum up the popular reaction thus: everybody was sad; nobody was surprised. The chorus to Winehouse’s most popular and famous song went: “They tried to make me go to rehab; I said no, no, no.” The lifestyle she lived matched her lyrics exactly – as when she was hospitalized for an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol.
It’s a shame that the world lost such a great singer so early. And yet, the same louche excess that killed Winehouse was part of the appeal of her songs. Nobody wants to hear a soulful voice sing “I ate all my vegetables and flossed daily,” even if this idea is put in more poetic cadences.