After studying the charts, I encountered online I have noticed a multitude of coincidences between age, genre of music, age of death and cause of death. This has been surprising to me as I previously didn’t believe there were any such links. This evidence is not entirely conclusive as it could easily be said that correlation does not equal causation however it is particularly jarring to analyse the data and see these coincidences.
I used the United States as a base for my research and tried to get all my graphs and charts from an American source. This is because the United States’ higher population means that I am able to get a broader range of data than if I had conducted the analysis using data from the United Kingdom. Another reason for this is that many of the infamous artists who have had notable controversies surrounding their music and their own (and/or their fans’) deaths. An example of such a band is Nirvana; they brought grunge and alternative rock to the mainstream with their angsty and rebellious hits such as Smells Like Teen Spirit in the 1990s. At the time, parents were incredibly worried about their children who were listening to this heavy and troublesome band, especially since at this time most popular music was very mild-mannered disco and electronica mixed in with very mild-mannered rock hits from the likes of Dire Straits or Pink Floyd. There was a sense of Juvenoia (a term coined by sociologist David Finkelhor to describe the exaggerated fear of the things that influence “kids these days”) especially since there was a certain familiarity in Nirvana’s sound which called back to the early days of Metal in the late 1960s, when artists such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin paved the way for an all new attitude and sound within the music industry. It is important to note here that Juvenoia is not unique to the music tastes of the youth, it is a disappointment that modern developments such as Iphones, the internet or even Television make it so that the world isn’t fit for the development of children like it used to be in the “Good old days”. This has been going on for an incredibly long time, after all, “Honor thy mother and thy father” was a commandment for a reason. In the early 1900s, Romain Rowland wrote that the youth are “Passionately in love with pleasure and violent games”. This can even be seen in Greek mythology as Aristotle, talking about the youth wrote, “They think they know everything, so they overdo everything”. So it’s safe to say that the reactions of parents and society from the 1960s onwards were not unique to that time period and certainly were not unique to the genre of music they were so deeply concerned with. Instead, the reason for such a concern regarding the proverbial “Kids these days” has likely been hardcoded into our species since the earliest development of life. Since children are the future of the species, it seems logical that nature would select for features in a species that cause adult members to prefer the way they were raised and to fear deviations from what is considered the norm.