Single Review: Justin Bieber – ‘Boyfriend’

“Comes off as a Justin Timberlake B-side from ten years ago that was probably expensive to make but sounds disparagingly cheap”

1 STAR

Digital Release: March 9, 2012

Physical Release: March 26, 2012

“Because I’m an artist myself, I can be pretty selective on who I produce for and who I make beats for … and really what I’m looking for is an amazing vocalist, somebody that can sing better than I can. And the other thing is somebody that’s willing to not try to make something that succeeds within the matrix of what pop music is now, but makes something that moves that matrix to where it is, and Justin was willing to take that leap with me.”

I remember saying that there is no-one in the music industry that challenges the tragic bellendery of Dappy, formerly of N-Dubz. On review of that statement I admit that I am wrong, provide the above quote from one Mike Posner, co-writer of Justin Bieber’s new single ‘Boyfriend’, and now make a claim that it is not Dappy, but Mike Posner, who it’s Music’s Biggest Bellend. Well done everyone.

Complaining about people like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Alexandra Burke not writing their own songs is a bit like wailing about how a fork is not a balloon. It’s all very easy for the snobs of this world to glance down their noses, failing to see much farther than the end of it, and spout numerous indie-fied comments about the success of non-success of their favourite ‘bands’ and ‘artistes’, only to almost always fall flat on their arse when they resort to the dreaded mantra of the alternative twat: “At least they write their own songs”. But the thing with Bieber is, now in a transition period from teenybopper wet dream material into post-teenybopper wet dream material, is that he has done none of what Posner said he was doing, even if he has had a hand in writing ‘Boyfriend’. Regardless of the jargonised bolloxology in the quote above, Posner does appear to understand what makes an artist innovative. Yet he, Bieber and two other songwriters (it took four people to come up with those lyrics?) collaboratively show no signs of possessing an iota of the ability to give Bieber this evasive quality and instead use words that make something relatively simple seem like a trek up Everest, so as if to compensate for their collective musical incompetence. In Posner’s terms, ‘Boyfriend’ takes “the matrix” of pop music and, in an attempt to re-invent it somewhere unchartered along the pop spectrum, has decidedly gone for the easier option and blown the thing up and then realised it’d gone wrong somewhere. And so it’s songwriters began to re-build “the matrix” of pop music from memory (of early noughties R&B), only to find “the matrix” of pop music a damn sight harder to rebuild that they first thought, resulting in a slap-bag job held together with Pritt stick that sounds nothing like something that could (or should) sell in today’s market, as it just comes off as a Justin Timberlake B-side from ten years ago that was probably expensive to make but sounds disparagingly cheap.

What fans don’t see here, is that ‘Boyfriend’ is the same song Bieber’s been singing since ‘One Time’. Many will argue that this is an edgier version of Bieber we’re seeing on ‘Boyfriend’, but the truth is, there’s no edge to this song. It’s clinically smooth and clear-cut – much like his chin – and feels like the type of music a modern day metrosexual man might make; little Justin’s still a long way till real manhood yet, no matter how deep his breathy wheezes are or his ‘rapping’ is.

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