The Big Hurt: Bieber fever

Plus U2’s purported fans, and Keane hits the green
By DAVID THORPE  |  March 30, 2010

Of the 45 headlines on’s music-news section, nine are about JUSTIN BIEBER. That’s precisely 20 percent. I’m not mentioning this because it’s absurdly high, I just find it curious that MTV’s news reportage should have exactly the same Bieber content proportion as my personal diary.

U2’s recent fan-club-exclusive remix album, Artificial Horizon, is set to be released on triple-disc vinyl. Which means that somebody out there is going to buy three discs of U2 remixes on effing vinyl. We know it’s going to happen. Somebody’s going to do it. But who? Can you even fathom such a creature? Is it a terrible club DJ, or an audiophile with indiscriminate tastes? Is it a U2 completist, undaunted by the universal shittiness of rock-remix records?

My old nemesis LIAM GALLAGHER seemed to express the same thoughts in a recent interview on, though he took it one step farther by positing the total non-existence of U2 fans: “I have never seen a U2 fan, not ever. I have never seen anyone with a U2 shirt or been around someone’s house that has a fucking U2 record. I mean, where do their fans fucking come from? Where are they?”

I just love his hair, you know? Justin Bieber, I mean. I wonder whether it’s as soft as it looks. I wonder whether he’s as soft as he looks.

The WARBLING CHERUB FROM KEANE shocked us all back in 2006 by entering rehab — how could such a tender, baby-faced pussy willow possibly fit the hard-living rock stereotype? Well, our former opinion of him has been vindicated by an interview with the UK tabloid the Sun in which he reveals that a new-found obsession with golf is helping him stay clean. “I am actually quite obsessed with it. When Alice Cooper needed to give up booze, he said, ‘What the hell am I going to do if I can’t drink?’, so he started playing golf and became completely obsessed with it — and that’s kind of the same as what happened to me.”

Don’t try to defend your pathetic, rockless golfing by comparing yourself to Alice Cooper, buddy. Alice’s love of golf is almost subversive in its perverse idiosyncrasy, whereas you’re exactly the type of tit who ought to be putting around. You playing golf isn’t equivalent to Alice Cooper playing golf — you being in rehab is equivalent to Alice Cooper playing golf.

I mean, Bieber’s, like, 16, right? At that age, a kid still gets scared sometimes. A kid gets scared at night and needs a hug, you know? He needs a hug, and it doesn’t much matter where it comes from. Woman, grown man, whatever.

It was hugely surprising and bumming-outing to hear that ALEX CHILTON had passed away. The dude wrote a disproportionate share of my favorite tunes. I don’t think I’ve gone a week without listening to “September Gurls” since I was a teenager — as Paul Westerberg put it, I never travel far without a little Big Star. I love Chilton’s sense of humor, too — if I wrote one of the best songs ever, I don’t think I’d have the comedic balls to title it “Stroke It Noel.”

What’s going ahn? This is the fourth premature cult-indie-veteran death in the past few months. The rule of threes has shattered, and who knows where the universe will stop this time? Sleep lightly, ye Jonathan Richmans and Robyn Hitchcocks, ye Bob Moulds and Gibby Hayneses — Death is hungry this year, and fattened by Michael Jackson, he’s got a taste for nutritious fare.

Sad times, man. I wonder whether Justin Bieber’s okay. Maybe he needs a friend right now.

DAVID THORPE | dthorpe[a]

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