‘My World 2.0’ and Justin Bieber analysis
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Justin Bieber has been getting a bad rep for a long time, especially when he was younger. In 2009 and 2010 he released My World and My World 2.0. I was in fifth grade and hated just about all pop music, having been listening to alternative since I was six years old. I remember the fanbase quite vividly from my fifth-grade class. Most of the girls would obsess over Bieber’s “Baby,” and most of the guys would trash on his haircut. Some of the girls would also trash on his haircut (including myself) and of course, some guys liked his music too. For many years, this dynamic went on. There were the ruthless, obsessed fans, and the ruthless, obsessed “haters,” as the fame industry deems them.
Yes, “Baby” was so extremely obnoxious, repetitive, and overplayed that it was hard to see how anyone couldn’t hate it. Sadly, this dislike of the music went hand in hand with hatred towards the artist. The relationship between art and artist has always been an important topic to think about, and the argument of whether to separate the two changes vastly depending on each situation. This one, in my opinion, was unjust at first. Due to his wide popularity, his fans supported him to extremes. However, once Bieber started making terrible decisions (such as egging neighbours’ houses, drunk driving, and drag racing) no one could help him. The fans were disappointed, and the haters felt sweet victory.
Now that it’s been many years since his pullback from the forefront, he’s straightened up, found himself a fiancée, and generally seems like a much better person. His music has obviously grown as he has, and he demonstrates a beautiful story of someone who has overcome far too many pressures and expectations from a young age.
The best part about this tale is that while Bieber has grown up, so has everyone else. I don’t see nearly the same number of hecklers berating his haircuts, his fans have grown up and probably have better things to do than obsess over an engaged man, and I no longer hate pop music!
That said, now that we’re in 2019 it’s safe to go back and really listen to his old albums. There had to be something special about them that made them as popular as they were at the time. Recently I found a treasure in the thrift store CD alley, which just so happened to be My World 2.0, and let me tell you: Bangers only. In fact, I am so disappointed in my 10-year-old self for having missed out for so long.
A year or so ago I remembered that the only song I’d liked by early JB was “Never Let You Go,” which is track six on the album. The music video is airy and honestly quite heavenly. The best scenes are easily the ones where he’s wearing all white and standing on a rock with an equally white and cloudy sky behind him. The song’s lyrics have a more mature take on a confusing love relationship, a different tone from the rest of the album (which is filled with more poppy, surface-level infatuation). The lines “Let the music blast; we gon’ do our dance / bring the doubters on, they don’t matter at all” are hopelessly romantic and a realistic take on how it feels to be in a passionate (yet very teenage) relationship. I was in elementary school when it came out so I’m not sure how many children could have taken this song to heart, but I’d like to imagine it hit well with high schoolers at the time.
“Somebody to Love” is one of my more preferred types of pop songs—the kinds you can scream way too loud in your car with your friends. It might have been embarrassing once upon a time (I still got made fun of way too much, but I wasn’t embarrassed!) but there’s no argument to fun music. This song is a dance track and features one of the catchiest choruses on the album.
Overall, the points I’m trying to make are: Be mindful when separating artists from their art, don’t let bias keep you from trying something new, and if you like something—then let yourself enjoy it! Oh, and give Justin Bieber a break.