The Washington Post

Amy Winehouse releases posthumous album: why we keep listening after she stops singing

Despite her death in July, Amy Winehouse will be releasing a new album: “Lioness: Hidden Treasures” this year.

Amy Winehouse (Shaun Curry /AFP/Getty Images)

If not to gain access to new material, what exactly is the point of demanding an encore from the departed?

There is the money (there is always money) and it’s not insignificant: Tupac released more albums after his death than he did during his lifetime, as did Notorious B.I.G. Michael Jackson has earned over half a billion dollars since his death in 2009 — yes, that is billion with a “b.” In the year he died, he sold 8.3 million albums.

Like all commerce, though, this exchange is two-sided: someone else wants to sell it, but they wouldn’t even bother unless we did not want to buy it.

Denial is famously the first stage of grief; we’re supposed to move on down the five-stage trail to acceptance. But en masse, we never seem to get beyond stage one when it comes to our pop heroes. Perhaps it’s that we can’t believe that even extraordinary talent has an expiration date. We don’t know how to say goodbye, so we just keep bringing the artists we love out of the ultimate retirement.


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