Posted by Newson 05/16/2012 at 4:29 PM
One of the pieces of information we neglected to include in our rundown of the things we learned in the recent GQ profile of Canadian manboy pop star Justin Bieber was that Bieber has never made a bad song. He says so himself—”I’ve never made a bad song,” straight up—the kind of matter-of-fact self-aggrandizing statement Bieber tends to make that never comes off as arrogant because to him, it’s just him speaking words that are obviously true. Usually we can’t blame him—on this one, though, we just may have to call him out.
I mean—never made a bad song? The Beatles made bad songs. Jay-Z made bad songs. Radiohead made an album they hate so much that speaking the title of it during interviews opens up a trap door underneath the floor (which is why they always have reporters stand in very specific spots while asking them questions). Why should Bieber be the first relevant artist in pop history—besides M/A/R/R/S, who only ever made one song, which was “Pump Up the Volume”—to never make a bad song?
Anyway, we’re pretty sure if we look hard enough, we can find uno dud in The Bieb’s back catalogue. Here’s some of the arguable stinkers:
Hard to believe, but there was a time—only about two years ago—when Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston were roughly on the same plane of popularity. As two of America’s most successful young pop talents, the two joined forces for the supremely irritating “Eenie Meenie,” a sweet but swag-less duet which boasted the year’s most ridiculous hook (“Shorty is an eenie, meenie, miney mo lover”) and an even-worse intro (“Eenie, meenie, miney, mo / Catch a bad chick by her toe…”) Luckily, proposed follow-up duet “Duck Duck Goose (I’m Caught in the Middle)” never made it out of the studio.
It’s an appropriately titled song for Bieber, since he sounds a little premature for slow jam territory—he may be singing about prom, but his still-thin, still-high voice still makes him sound like he’s about six years away from corsage and limo territory. The production itself sounds post-dated from 1997 (if not far earlier), and lyrics like “No teachers around to see us dancing close / I’m telling you our parents will never know” and “Now’s the perfect time for me to taste your lip gloss” just come off as icky. (Star mentor Usher shows up for emotional support, but doesn’t actually do much besides basically saying “Go get ‘em, Bieb.”)
After the megasuccess of Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks’ “No Air,” just about every young male recording artist had to do an overwrought duet with a female recording artist peer. In Bieber’s case, he was paired first with Sarah Jarosz and then the far more famous Miley Cyrus on “Overboard,” another gentle, acoustic-guitar-and-strings-led ballad focusing way too much on a life-threatening metaphor. “I’m overboard and I need your love / Pull me up, I can’t swim on my own / It’s too much / Feels like I’m drowning without your love / So throw yourself out to me /My lifesaver.” Subtle.
“BORN TO BE SOMEBODY”
Justin Bieber’s Diane Warren-penned Never Say Never prediction of omnipotence may have been nominated for a Grammy, but it’s hardly his finest moment—rather, a typically mawkish, inoffensive closing-credits ballad with lyrics that, if interpreted a certain way, are arrogant even by Bieber standards. “I was born to be somebody / And this world will belong to me.” Oh, just take it already, Bieber. You know we’re gonna give it to you eventually anyway.
“LIVE MY LIFE”
Yeah, yeah, not technically his song, but you know what they say—when you lay with Far*East Movement, you wake up with discography blemishes. Bieber’s “I’m gonna li-i-ive…my life” hook is the song’s sole redeeming virtue, otherwise one of the F*EM’s typical sub-LMFAO pro-living it up screeds (“This bass make me go ape / These girls Cirque du Soleil”) that makes partying sound like a ceaselessly hellish, unrelenting existence. Bieber’s presence alone was enough to get the Far*East Movement an improbable third (!!) top 40 hit, but not enough to redeem the song’s existence. If you wanna keep up a 100% strike rate, you gotta be careful with who’s on the other side of those “f/”s, Bieber.
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