I’ve kind of held my tongue on this topic, because I didn’t feel it was anything to write a blog post about, but since he’s on Oprah today, I figured I’d throw in my two cents.
When I think of Justin Bieber, the phrase that automatically comes to mind is: it’s been done before by better. Nothing that he’s doing is original, or new. Michael Jackson did it, Usher did it, Justin Timberlake did it and now he’s doing it. That’s not even putting him in the same category as those artists, because his staying power has yet to be seen.
The first time I saw his debut video for ‘One Time’, I was flipping the channels and stopped at MuchMusic. I had no idea who this kid was (I think I immediately figured he was Canadian, until I saw Usher in the video and that gave me a pause). The first thing that popped in to my head was he was trying to be like Sammie. For those that don’t know, Sammie is a young R&B artist, known to most as the guy who sings the chorus in ‘Kiss Me Thru the Phone’. But back when I was a teenager, he had a song called ‘I Like It‘ that was cutesy and young and straight up R&B. We all used to sing it all the time. Looking at the ‘One Time‘ video, I saw Sammie’s video. It was copycat to me.
I’ll admit, I enjoy his songs. They’re catchy, pop R&B sing along songs that get stuck in your head. Watching some of his old YouTube videos, it’s obvious he’s talented and it’s pretty damn amazing that he’s from Stratford. I can’t really hate on that. What bugs me about him is seeing so many other artists in him, and so little originality.
Usher is the mastermind behind the whole Justin Bieber image. Including hiring a ‘swagger coach‘ to teach him how to be cool. The whole young white boy doing R&B has been done before by Justin Timberlake who was able to prove himself as a true R&B artist, and it’s been done by Jesse McCartney. Done way better by Jesse McCartney (Leavin‘ is still my jam).
I think that if Bieber could dance, he’d be a complete package. Then I could understand all the hype! But as evident in the ‘Baby‘ video, he cannot dance at all.
In a way the Bieber phenomenon is cute because it reminds me of when I was a teenager, back when Spice Girls, Backstreet, Britney, and *NSYNC ruled the world. If TRL was still around, Bieber would have Times Square shut down. But at the same time, back then even though the music was cheesy, it was good. The artists danced and had personalities. I believe a big part of the Bieber hype is the Internet. He’s a major presence on Twitter and is a trending topic every day. Social networking sites and YouTube helped him rise to super-stardom. There would be no Justin Bieber without the Internet.
He’s everywhere. I’m able to ignore it but I couldn’t believe it when MTV brought back Diary just for him. Diary was one of my favorite shows back in the day. It was a way to see the life of celebrities that you didn’t get to see. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it was sad, sometimes it made me see the artists true side and not like them. But Bieber’s episode of Diary seemed to me like a marketing ploy. Just an excuse for girls to watch him for half an hour.
It remains to be seen if Bieber will be popular in a years time. I think a good example is the Jonas Brothers. They were on top of the world this time last year and now, no one really cares. It was a fad that came and went in the blink of an eye.
Bottom line, I’m not really a fan. I guess I’m too old and jaded. Obviously I’m not the kind of girl they market him to. I already went through all the boy band stuff in the 90’s. If he could dance it would be another story but since he can’t, forget about it.
Who knows what will happen for this kid. He may turn out like Justin Timberlake and successfully make the transition from a teen star to a credible adult artist. Or this time next year we’ll laugh and say, “Remember that Justin Bieber thing?”