At this point, the View from the Top column on PearShaped is beginning to look like the future National Portrait Gallery, representing a peppy pop dystopia where there is only Bieber. With five songs in the Top 25, a feat only matched by John Lennon in the wake of his death, Bieb’s flop-headed ubiquity will soon increase to dizzying heights. The tendrils of Belieberism have wrapped themselves around even the most discerning musical punters, sparing no one. “Loving the new chilled tropical vibes” says Obama; “What do you mean you don’t like the new album?” tweets Putin wittily; “He’s got some great new producers” says Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin, sheepishly defending JB as his current “jam”. It was almost appropriate that in the last few weeks Bieber’s little sign has said “Sorry”.
This week though, it says “Love Yourself”. Definitely my favourite from the album, the song itself reminds me a lot of early John Mayer, with bouncy minimalist blues chords and an understated-ness never before seen with Bieber. His delivery is silky smooth and the humming trumpet breakdown might be the sexiest collusion of man and brass I’ve ever witnessed. It was co-written by Ed Sheeran, which makes so much sense after you find out; the lyrics do that Ed thing of mimicking emotional depth by seeming to focus on intimately personal aspects of a specific relationship while also being generic enough to apply to nearly everyone, à la “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone”.
The result: resonance with innumerable fuckboys and fuckgirls (myself included). “Love yourself” as a lyric also has many an entendre: “love yourself because I can’t love you”, “love yourself, you vain bitch”, as well as “fuck yourself”. A particularly scathing move on Justin and Ed’s part, I enjoy the song all the more for this as I smirk knowingly like the smug prick I have already revealed myself to be. While not exactly profoundly rich in implication, this subtlety is leaps and bounds ahead of Bieber’s Baby, a song based around a word so devoid of meaning that pop stars practically exhale it with every breath.
While the song is great, the newfound Bieberphilia phenomenon needs to be addressed. It reveals, I think, an elaborate plot by Bieber/Universal Music Studios/all of Canada, with the aim to infect Western culture. Playing the long game, Bieber was raised from birth to be vacuous and musical, was signed, and carefully made the transition in his music from blandly passable to catchily mediocre. Relatively, it appears to the consumer that JB has skyrocketed into pop genius. The mind games continued today when Justin posted an old picture of him and Selena on Instagram with the caption “Crazy throwback”. What does this mean? (Ha). Crazy is such an abstract adjective; does he miss Selena? Will they get back together? Before you know it you’re following Justin, drone-like, on his sensational Purpose: The Movement tour. Be very suspicious of the Bieber, but, even more so, be suspicious of writers who have to write about the same thing every week.
Although, there is hope. While JB has an iron grip on the quivering thighs of the UK charts at the moment, the only thing that can ease this ambiguously pleasurable hold is the impulse for festivity. The aforementioned Instagram propaganda is a last ditch effort by Bieber’s posse to preserve his streak, but the frost has started nipping at my nose and I want to feel this aurally too. While no decent Christmas songs have come out yet (yes I am including the shocking, sell-out Phoenix shite. Fuck you, Bill Murray) I can only assume this is because Bieber’s people are holding Santa and his band hostage. Watch this space, next week it’ll be taken by something jolly.