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Goodbye, Aretha

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It’s hard for me to say how much I love and have loved Aretha Franklin. The hours and hours I’ve spent listening to her, her perfect voice floating over me while I grew up. She was always around, with me while I was lying in my bed or at a party or making dinner or breaking up with someone or falling in love or moving somewhere or coming home. There was no bad time to listen to Aretha, there is no one who didn’t like her, a good bet to put on for any and every crowd. I was lucky enough to see her at Radio City about ten years ago and thank god I did because The Queen of Soul has left this earth. I can’t even conceive of how lucky we were to have her.

Every person in this godforsaken country knows and loves Aretha. Aretha IS America. We all know the words to “Respect,” ecstatically singing the lyrics together drunkenly at weddings, or feeling all up in your own femininity as you sing “Natural Woman” in your room or driving along to “Spanish Harlem,” chopping vegetables to “Say a Little Prayer” or just walking down the street to “Spirit in The Dark.” Once again there is no bad time for Aretha. Like a subtle, fun, but dynamic friend, she can come with me anywhere, any time. She is always welcome and I’m invariably just so happy she is there.

I have heard in passing that this is a metal website but I have to say I can’t imagine that mattering in the case of the particular legend. It seems unnecessary to post metal versions of her hits, scream-core covers of her classics. She speaks for herself and she doesn’t need improvement or remixes. I feel confident that you guys all loved Aretha too. Everyone did! She wasn’t controversial or exclusive or trendy. She was just the actual best, she was everywhere and there was never a bad time to be taken away by her sweet, soulful, sublime voice. Never a bad time. Love you, Aretha and forever yours.

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