It may be just me, but I really want to hate Justin Bieber. The
16-year-old Canadian kid, in case you’ve been living under a rock, is
one of the biggest musicians in North America right now.
He’s everywhere — from chatting with Katie Couric and posing for the
cover of Billboard Magazine to weeks being on Twitter’s trending topics
list, it’s impossible not to run into something Bieber.
The oversaturation is not why I want to dislike the skinny, androgynous-looking boy from Stratford, Ont., though it doesn’t help. The reason?
There isn’t one — he’s hard not to like.
Don’t get me wrong, Bieber is obnoxious — he’s got an odd speaking
voice, sounding like a mixture of Jay-Z, suburban Canuck and cocky
teen, and he’s not doing anything for his fans’ musical tastes, who are
stuck singing eye-rolling saccharine pop that sounds like a mixture of
Michael Jackson, ‘N Sync, and every American Idol winner.
But Bieber’s appeal lies beyond his mostly forgettable melodies — the
singer knows how to connect to his audience in a way most acts can only
What I like about Bieber (besides being giddy about visiting family in
Winnipeg, where I’m originally from) is that he acts, sings and talks
like a teenager, albeit a teenager who has countless adoring female
fans and a travel schedule that takes him around the world. He talks
about his mom a lot, he’s never made it a secret that he was discovered
via embarrassing videos of him playing what looks like an oversized
guitar on YouTube (he’s just really small) and he writes, cleanly,
about the same, turbulent, adolescent love that us adults are happy to
How can you dislike a guy that sings “adore ya, girl I want
ya… you’re my special little lady, the one drives me crazy?”
Bieber’s new album, My World 2.0, closes with a ballad about seeing his
girl out with another guy. “Did you think that I wouldn’t see you out
at the movies,” he sings on That Should Be Me, before launching into a
gut wrenching (for a pre-teen) chorus about how it should be him
“holding your hand.” At the risk of sounding condescending, the whole
act is really cute.
And that’s exactly why he’s as popular as he is. More so than Justin
Timberlake or New Kids on the Block, Bieber is the boy next door. He’s
not particularly handsome, he’s got a faux-edge that many teenage boys
put on for the girls, and he loves to hang out at the mall (or at least
perform there). He’s wholesome without being Disney — he’s the kid
who’ll grow up to be a doctor or maybe an accountant. For everyone
wondering why this guy is so popular, there’s your answer. And you know
what? I can’t fault him for playing to his audience.
In a music industry where teens go wild over Lady Gaga’s oversexed
outfits and the Black Eyed Peas’ “dirty dancing,” it’s not so bad to
have a slightly annoying, but good-natured Canadian kid topping the
Bryan Borzykowski is a business and entertainment writer. Follow Metro Music on Twitter @TheMetroMusic