Dearest, dearest readers. Here at Let Them Eat Vinyl, we are ever devoted to bringing you the latest in music and pop culture news. There is no mountain too high, no valley too low, no rock left unturned in our quest to inform, amuse, and delight you.
The latest adventure in the name of our noble cause came in the form of an expedition to the local multiplex on a sunny Monday afternoon. What, pray tell, was our destination? A last-minute viewing of an Oscar contender in advance of this weekend’s ceremonies, perhaps? Nay. Instead, we were en route to witness the Odyssean tale of a young boy’s meteoric rise to the top, armed with nothing but a voice, a dream, and a blow dryer.
That boy, of course, is Justin Bieber. “How has one so young become such a global star, so quickly?” we wondered to ourselves. “What power and influence now lie at his fingertips?” and, of course, “What is the purpose of that haircut?”
The answers, dear reader, lie within…
In advance of going to see any musical performance (live or otherwise) we like to engage in something we call “training” – that is, listening to the artist’s works a few times on repeat to familiarize ourselves with their oeuvre.
With trepidation we logged on to iTunes and downloaded Bieber’s latest, My World 2.0. An initial listen revealed some of the tracks to be very catchy pop tunes, whereas others were predictably treacly. The standout in our minds is a track titled simply “Baby”, an upbeat, doo-wop influenced song about young love.
Spencer: “But wait a second. I don’t get it. In the first verse, Justin sings to us about how the girl in the song loves him & cares, and how they will “never ever ever be apart”. But then in the very next verse, the girl tells him they’re just friends? And then, right after that, she tells him there’s someone else, and he’s singing about how his first love broke his heart for the first time. Like, does all of this happen really quickly? or is it over the course of a few months? Cause it seems really fast…”
The Finn: “Are you kidding? You’re actually listening to the lyrics? I think they’re kind of beside the point…?”
Look people, I get it. Life is fast. It’s dog-eat-dog out there. Maybe in the high-octane world of teen pop stardom there’s simply no time to dwell on lyrical complexities. But if you’re gonna invest in a team of experts who’ll come up with catchy hooks and melodies, is it really so hard to find someone to string together a coherent narrative?
Anyway, moving along. Off to the theatre we go! As we approach the box office, we see an alarming number of twelve-to-fifteen-year-old girls – some in packs, some dragging along their hapless parents.
The Finn: “Maybe we should have brought along a few kids…”
Spencer: “No way, I’m not lining Bieber’s pockets any more than we have to. He made 100 million dollars last year”
The Finn: “Seriously???”
We both contemplate this sum, and reflect on the utter lack of doing anything that characterized our lives up to the age of sixteen (and well beyond, for that matter).
After enduring a lengthy once-over from the ticket-taker (Are they actually into Justin Bieber? she is wondering. Why would two adults unaccompanied by children choose to see this movie?) we take our seats.
And the movie begins!
The blurriness is due to the 3D film. The other general crappiness of the photos is due to my photo-taking skills.
And, well, dang it if it isn’t all…kind of endearing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bieber’s story, he was a small-town kid living in Stratford, Ontario, with his single mother. Though his dad is still kind of in the picture, his parents split up when he was 10 months old (aside: I am pretty sure that both of Bieber’s parents are younger than me).
We get the whole background story. I would like to mention that there is a group of pre-teen girls sitting near us who are mouthing along with the commentary, and literally screaming every time that Bieber appears onscreen shirtless (which happens more often than you would expect). Anyway, they show all these pics and videos of Justin from when he was little. It seems weird to me that they have a so many videos of him as a child (did they somehow sense that he was going to be famous, and think “we better get this on film”? My parents have like, one dusty album of black-and-white baby photos of me) until I realize that since he was born like 10 minutes ago, the people around him probably all had video cameras on their phones and whatnot.
There’s a bunch of interviews with Bieber fans, in which they scream a lot and talk about his hair and his smile. You’ve got to love pre-teen girls for that. They are pretty adorable.
Check out that pink shirt with Justin’s face on it. I’m not gonna lie, I would totally wear that.
There are interviews with his mom (she totally is younger than me) and his grandparents, who are too cute for words. It actually seems like he had a pretty normal upbringing. Oh, I forgot to mention, he started playing drums at like age two, and then guitar when he was five or something, and then he started busking outside this theatre in Stratford. It’s kind of ridiculous. He is super talented, and a total ham.
Anyway, eventually he starts singing covers of songs by Usher and Ne-Yo, and his mom puts them up on YouTube so that his relatives on the West coast can see them. These performances get thousands of hits from complete strangers and attract the attention of a dude named Scooter Braun who works for Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. Scooter Braun decides that he MUST AT ALL COSTS track down this precocious child and make him into a star. I like Scooter Braun, partially because typing his name is amusing, but also because he seems to really believe in the Biebs and kind of looks out for him like an older brother would. I actually like Bieber’s whole team. Maybe I just am hopelessly naïve – like, I know, he’s a product, and they all have a stake in him – but they do seem to really care about him. They also awesomely give out last-minute tickets at each show to fans who don’t have tickets. Yeah, it’s a publicity stunt — but they don’t have to do it. How many artists out there, do you figure, have extra tickets at their disposal — and rather than giving them away just let the seats go empty?
Anyway, interspersed with all of the narrative there is concert footage of all of Bieber’s songs, replete with hysterical screaming girls in the audience.
At one point Justin appears suspended over the crowd, sitting in a giant chrome heart and serenading the girls with an acoustic guitar. I am not making this up, see for yourself:
Justin also performs with other stars such as Sean Kingston, Boyz II Men (!!) and Miley Cyrus:
The Finn: “She looks like she’s about 40”
Eventually, there is some big dramz — Biebs is scheduled to play Madison Square Garden but he has a horrible throat infection and everyone is flapping around that he won’t be able to perform on the big day. A doctor is consulted who orders a strict no-speaking edict until the day before the show.
Can I just stop here for a second and say, OMFG Justin Bieber sold out Madison Square Garden are you kidding me??? I seriously had no clue how huge this kid was until seeing this. Madison Square Garden…that’s like Michael Jackson huge. And Bieber sold it out in 22 minutes.
Back to the throat infection… the day before the show dawns and Biebs is given the all-clear. Yay! All is right with the world again.
Madison Square Garden. The Beatles sold out this shizz. So did U2, and Elton John. Now Bieber joins their illustrious ranks
Many celebrities show up for the concert, including David Beckham, some Kardashian types, Snoop Dog (which kind of makes my life), and a bunch of other people I’m forgetting now because i didn’t take screen caps of them. Justin is forced to drink a horrible-looking beverage that contains lots of vitamins & green stuff that’s good for you:
My mother-in-law is always trying to get us drink similarly gross vegetable drinks. Yech! She is a super adorable lady though, so no complaints.
There is a quick prayer
Then Biebs takes the stage! And he rocks it! Dear reader, was there ever any doubt that he would?
Biebs is joined at various points during the show by Usher, Ludacris, and Jaden Smith. People, I am obsessed with Jaden Smith’s style. I am beyond devastated that I didn’t manage to get a good pic of him during the sound check because he had on pretty much the greatest outfit of all time, wearing what can only be described as a leather tuxedo tailcoat, with super light-wash acid skinny jeans. I love him. Here is a random photo of him so you can see for yourself how rad he is:
Like, are you kidding me? This kid is 1,000 x more stylish than you
Anyway, the show goes off without a hitch, and there are even some lasers thrown in as a bonus:
FYI, I am a big fan of lasers. There is really no scenario out there that isn’t improved by adding them. Think about it. First date with lasers? Yes. Board meeting with lasers? Yes! Swim meet with lasers? Yes, yes, and yes!! Maybe…not at a funeral. But I dunno, that could be kinda cool too. You know what? F&ck it. I want lasers at my funeral. Lots of them! Why not?
And that’s the end of our show, friends. Biebs is more talented than you and makes a billion times more than you, and he’s only sixteen. Depressing, isn’t it? But he seems like a good kid, one who’s surrounded by a good support system, so hopefully he won’t go off the rails like so many a child star before him.
As for the haircut, they never really get into where it came from, but it certainly is a force to be reckoned with.
Perhaps we will get the full story in Bieber’s SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED AUTOBIOGRAPHY, which — of course — we will be reviewing here. Stay tuned…