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25 July 2011

Amy Winehouse at 27: M.I.A. & magical thinking

Don’t burn that image of her casual, sloppy brilliance into your mind when remembering Amy Winehouse. Instead remember this one:

M.I.A.’s predilection for inserting herself into debates she has no place in is annoying. Her music is not. And here’s her tribute to Amy Winehouse, an unreleased demo called “27,” one in which her two cents actually seems well-deserved. And, one has to believe, heartfelt.

It includes these lyrics:

said your all mouth and no brains
all rock stars go to heaven
you said you’ll be dead at 27 seven

So it is, in a way, a tribute to the 27 club. Though let’s be honest these lyrics from later on in the song ring even truer than that phenomenon:

you blew that money on a mountain of drugs
and staged your self a bed in

Elliott Smith died at age 34. Rick James died at age 56. 27 is a magic age for rock star death if, for no other reason, people have rarely developed enough good judgement by that age to let self-preservation triumph over the acquisition of new experience. If I recall numerous conversations with friends looking to “settle down” with a mate, 27 is also the age floor many people observe when looking for a life partner. (Obligatory shout-out to those enjoying newly legalized gay marriage in New York State yesterday. Beware the pitfalls, friends!)

Anyway, the sooner we begin attributing death to something other than a mystical kind of numerology, the better off we’ll be.

Bye Amy.

Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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1 Comment

  1. On 2011-7-25 josh k-sky said:

    Mama Cass, Karen Carpenter. John Bonham, Keith Moon. Brian Epstein! Clearly someone needs to write a song about the risks of turning 32 in rock’n’roll.

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