2014 Update: He just got arrested. Lol.
One of the first things that struck me about the “We Are The World 25 For Haiti” video was that the person who got the first line was an annoying, screechy-sounding nobody who was both unrecognizable on his/her own and incomparable to the established quality of all the other talented artists. Who was this kid? As it turns out, it was Justin Bieber– the under-aged white-chocolate flavour of the month.
The cap, the hand sign and the facial expression- worrying signs of potentially epic douchebaggery
You can’t fault the kid for taking the opportunity that has been presented to him and seizing it with all his prepubescent vigour. What I can’t understand is why Justin was given a solo line to sing, while established artistes like Michael Bublé and Jason Mraz were relegated to singing in the mass chorus! He might be cute and cuddly, but he certainly does not have the star presence to hold his own amongst the likes of Toni Braxton and Celine Dion- and it would be ridiculous to hold him to that sort of standard at such an early point in his life and career. Then and again, we also had Miley Cyrus and T-Pain. I suppose the music industry (who obviously must know what they’re doing, considering how stellar record sales are these days!) decided that these are the artistes that the masses should and would relate to the best. Or perhaps the masses really do want to relate to these artistes, and the music moguls are simply pandering to our rapidly degenerating tastes. Either way, it’s a rather sorry state of affairs.
There’s something deeply unsettling about a 16-year-old white boy calling girls “shawty” with a completely straight face, and seeing his audience lap it up like it’s the most natural thing in the world. The Beatles wanted to hold your hand, Akon wants to fuck you, and now a 16-year-old is turning on the charm like a seasoned playa’ from da ‘hood. I’m no conservative- (I like what Lady Gaga is doing, for example)- but we’re going too far too fast and real life is quickly turning into grotesque comedy devoid of sense and sensibility. It’s a crude example of how we don’t have attention spans any more, and how artistes no longer are allowed to breathe and develop the way Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan managed to. This is a sad time for artistic development, and stands as a monument to the sort of degeneration that Marilyn Manson and friends turn to for inspiration. We collectively have allowed society to deteriorate, and we collectively have become far more unsettling than the satanic metal worshippers- or whomever your religion, media and government have told you your enemies are.
Justin Bieber is way, way too young to have a unique sense of individuality, any sort of interesting personality or any depth whatsoever as a songwriter. He gets by the same way any young upstart would- mimicking his idols Usher, Ludacris, Chris Brown, Sean Kingston, Ne-Yo and a host of other black R&B artistes. In his defense- the kid can sing. He can also play the guitar, the piano, the drums and the trumpet (Damn!). He seems like a good-natured, fun-loving kid. Given time and space to grow and mature as an artiste, I’m sure he could turn out to be someone interesting with a potentially genuine contribution to the music industry. But the profit-mongering industry won’t have that. They’re not going to give him that vital time and space to grow, as a person and as an artiste. They’re just forcing him into a niche luring him with power, fame and money. They’ll suck out his soul and leave him an empty, confused shell to be tossed aside once fully exploited- a vacuum which will probably be filled with sex, drugs and disenchantment.
I’m sorry, Justin. It’s a cruel world.