Saturday, April 23, 2016
Why I Am Not Broken Up By the Death of Several Popular Musicians
I am a bit out of step with my peers in not being especially moved by the death of some prominent musicians. My Boomer friends were torn up about David Bowie, and now my Gen X friends are torn up about Prince. And some of each were strongly affected by Michael Jackson's death.
A.J. Hartley has a good piece about why people who grew up before the internet might be more affected by the loss of favorite musicians than young people with easy access to music. I feel that some - I am old enough (I am on the Boomer/Gen X cusp) to remember listening carefully and memorizing whole albums.
Still, it is hard for me to think of a singer whose death would feel like a huge personal and social loss. Springsteen has been my clear favorite since the '70s, and I appreciate his ongoing production of great songs. Nonetheless, if he died tomorrow, I would appreciate what he had made, but not feel a part of me had gone.
I am not sure why. Perhaps I am not as affected by music as others (though I don't think so). Perhaps it is just these artists (though my Springsteen reflection makes me think not).
My best two best guesses are these:
1) As a sociologist, I see even exceptional artists as types, rather than as uniquely irreplaceable figures;
2) As a bourgeois, I feel at arms length from artists as people, even if I appreciate their work.
I am puzzled. I would welcome your thoughts.