Tuesday, September 21

From Prince to Joy Division: 10 of the best posthumous albums | Pop and rock

Prince (2019)

This week’s Welcome 2 America is Prince’s third posthumous album to emerge since his death in 2016. Perhaps the most intriguing, however, is Originals, a collection of original Prince demos of songs later made famous by other artists (Manic Monday, Love … Thy Will Be Done, nothing compares to 2 U). A tantalizing look at the artistic process of a restless genius.

Janis Joplin (1971)

Quickly recorded a month before his death and released three months later, Joplin’s second solo album captures both his surprising vocal prowess and his live electrical energy. His version of Cry Baby nearly collapsed under the weight of his passion, as Bobby McGee and I slowly blossomed from country hoedown to shattered blues rock.

Aaliyah in 2001.
Aaliyah in 2001. Photograph: Jim Cooper / AP

I care 4 U
Aaliyah (2002)

The mismanagement of the legacy of the late R&B superstar (you won’t find his songs on streaming platforms, for example) has been the cause of much frustration for fans, so this bag of hits and previously unreleased songs has gained value. additional. It’s only worth it for the Timbaland-produced hit, Don’t Know What to Tell Ya.

Dreaming of You
Selena (1995)

The Texas-born Latino superstar had begun recording an English crossover album, a process interrupted when she was assassinated in 1995 at just 23 years old. Dreaming of You features songs from those nascent sessions, including the Madonna-style title track and the one assisted by David Byrne. God’s Child (Dance With Me).

Mac Miller (2020)

Started out as a companion piece to the revealing 2018 album Swimming, Circles was completed after Miller’s death in 2018 by producer Jon Brion. While both albums speak starkly about the rapper’s depression, it is hints of close optimism that give Circles an additional jolt of tragedy.

J Dilla.
J Dilla. Photograph: Mass Appeal

The glow
J Dilla (2006)

Detroit rapper and producer J Dilla started The Shining from his hospital bed using just a digital sampler and a small turntable. Following his death from cardiac arrest in 2006, the album was completed by collaborator Karriem Riggins, moving from a soft neo-soul to a hollowed out rattle.

TLC (2002)

After the death of rapper Lisa “Left Eye” López in April 2002, her bandmates continued to work on her fourth album, using a mix of new López lines and cappellas from her solo album sessions. Despite its patchwork nature, its multiple highlights, from Girl Talk’s soulful swagger to the edgy R&B of Dirty dirty – are augmented by the likes of Timbaland and the Neptunes.

Ian Curtis.
Ian Curtis. Photograph: Steve Richards / Rex / Shutterstock

Joy Division (1980)

“This is the way, come in,” intons Ian Curtis in Closer’s opener, Atrocity Exhibition, his post-punk skeleton adorned with primitive percussion and sinister rock art flourishes. It sets the stage for an album that oozes claustrophobia, Curtis’s sepulchral lyricism augmented by Martin Hannett’s enchanted production. Its release came just two months after Curtis’ suicide.

From a cellar on the hill
Elliott Smith (2004)

By 2000, Elliott Smith’s jet black lo-fi had been polished. However, he was unable to mask his internal turmoil with start and stop sessions for his follow-up haunted by drug-related paranoia. Completed after her death in 2003, songs like Pretty (Ugly Before) and Twilight show Smith’s ability to transform pain into something akin to beauty.

Life after death
The Notorious BIG (1997)

Biggie’s second and final studio album was released 16 days after his murder. A heavyweight double album, it zigzags between gory and detailed noir (Somebody’s Gotta Die), feud anthems (Kick in the Door) and, in the form of Hypnotize and Mo Money Mo Problems, long-lasting commercial ups and downs.


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