It’s said that a catastrophic event (nuclear war, the volcano under Yellowstone erupting, a meteor strike) would kill off the more advanced creatures, like us, but leave less evolved beings, like cockroaches. 2016 killed off David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, and George Michael; but Bieber, the Jonas Brothers, and the former members of One Direction survived. While I have no doubt you see any musical act with more than 100 fans as a no-talent sell-out, are these related?
Yup. Bunch of no-talent sellouts. Don’t forget to add the Kings of Leon to your listing of crappy pop music designed to make us all stupider. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw those fools under the bus for no good reason whatsoever.
This “only the good die young” (how ironic is it that that’s a Billy Joel song?) problem has affected hipsters like us (and I include you, because the very nature of your inquiry incorporates you into the global hipster collective) for ages. While I’d personally prefer that nobody die horribly, it grates on the hipster soul that the “good ones” seem to go first. In the early ’90s, hipster comedian Bill Hicks had a joke about living in a world where John Lennon gets murdered, yet Barry Manilow keeps releasing crappy album after crappy album. Even though Hicks doesn’t give Manilow enough credit for “Mandy,” it’s a familiar refrain. I can imagine ’70s hipsters saying something along the lines of, “Are you kidding me? You take Marc Bolan, and yet we have suffer through ‘Muskrat Love’ for the next 30 years?” Eighties hipsters must have been pretty bummed when fate punched D. Boon’s ticket yet graced Hall and Oates with an apparent immortality. Early 2000s hipsters lost Elliott Smith...but at least the world got to keep Nelly! The less said about 2016 the better, frankly.
I gotta say, the way you put it’s a little harsh. Maybe a lot harsh. You’re not outright wishing the death of the Jonas Brothers, but you’re a lot closer to that than you are to blackly appreciating the cruelties of a world that gives us a talent like Nick Drake, then takes him away before he can even get famous. Careful with that.
In the long run, it all turns out to be bullshit, anyways. The majority of musicians, good or otherwise, enjoy long lives and fruitful careers. Keith Richards (if I might go for the lowest of low-hanging fruit) may never die; Ozzy Osbourne appears to have died 20 years ago (he just doesn’t know it); and it’s not like any of the people you mentioned didn’t rake in millions of dollars, or enjoy decades of adoration by legions of fans. It’s little more than a poetic gesture, the product of a kind of hipster confirmation bias, to ascribe particular “unfairness” to the passing of XYZ musician when ABC musician gets to live on. It reinforces the (admittedly accurate) conceit that Justin Bieber sucks when we point to the little shit’s continued existence as the salt in wound carved out by the loss of artists great and new; but, sadly, doing so doesn’t make Bieber any less bad or bring back Bored Nothing and his peculiar brand of ephemeral shoegaze.