Monday, July 23, 2012

In Defense of Justin Bieber

I've seen this around the internet several times over the past couple months, with varying captions to communicate the wretched pit of stupid that popular music has fallen into.  Pretty much every time, my response is something along the lines of "Oh shut the heck up."

It's not that I think Justin Bieber is this great uber-god of music and that they are likely to be playing his greatest hits at Classical Music concerts 400 years down the road. I do, however, think it's completely unfair to compare him to Frank Sinatra. 

Slide him up next to New Kids on The Block and he doesn't fare quite as badly. "Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.  Hangin' Tough!"

The Bee-Gees? "Ah ah ah ah Stayin' Alive. Stayin' Alive."

Let's go back even further to the 50's.  "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to!"

I'm not sure why it's an awful thing for some music to simply be... fun. While I'm sure it's entirely possible that young Mr Bieber considers himself a paragon of lyrical poetry, pop music in general is just supposed to be fun, and I'm not sure what's wrong with that.

"There is... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."

I think the same can be said of music.  It comes in hundreds of different forms, and while I don't LIKE all of them, they're all good for something. I'm not sure why "just being fun" isn't a valid form of expression.

Maybe I'm just sensitive to this... not Justin Bieber in particular (though I do end up listening to a lot of him because my youngest daughter was a big fan for three years), but just this idea of musical bigotry and elitism.

For the last 4 1/2 years, I've been a big fan of Celtic Thunder.  BIG.  And okay yes.  Sometimes maybe they're sort of like an Irish manband. But I don't really care, I LIKE them. Their music makes me happy.  But, I can't tell you the number of times I've felt like I have to defend them because someone else thinks they're stupid. 

I also developed a love for country music when we moved to Washington.  There was a stretch of highway between here and my mom's house in Oregon that country music was the only radio station you could get (well okay, also one that plays Mexican polkas).  At the time, the CD and cassette players in my van were also dead, so if I wanted any music (and I can't stay awake driving without it), country music it was!  I found I liked it a lot. I loved the story that was embedded into country music, the real life.  
Sure, sometimes there are dumb songs like "Red Solo Cup" (which annoys the pants off of me) or equally silly "Country Girl Shake It For Me" (which I love to bits). But there are far more that are pure, sweet, and heartfelt.  I have often posted videos of songs onto my Facebook with notes like "I really like this song" or "This song means a lot to me" only to have people I'm friends with decide that "oh that sucks" or "I hate country music" is something that would be nice to say.

*blinks* Really.

Justin Bieber went out of style here a couple years ago.  He was no longer the "in" thing at school. And yet, my Alicia still went on liking him. At a parent-teacher conference, we were laughing about her devotion to her pop idol and her teacher asked me, "I know he isn't 'in' anymore... does she get teased about that?" I didn't know... but I loved that she continued liking Justin Bieber (and she did for two more years), not because he was the popular thing to like, but because she just earnestly liked him. That's awesome.

So, Mr Bieber...  You go on making the music you make.  My girls, you go on liking the music you like.  And don't let anyone tell you that the things that make your heart go pitter-pat aren't okay.


  1. Thanks for getting red solo cup in my head;) Haaaa Im going to be singing it all day. Life needs to be fun;) and yes I have to listen to the Bieber too I have three girls I even had to be a facebook fan!

  2. Here's to loving music, appreciating the good, enjoying the fun - lol, ignoring the not so good (come on, there are some songs and tunes and artists out there that just are... not so good) and not agreeing with everyone. Well said, Jo.

    1. lol Well, there are plenty of songs and artists that _I_ don't like... but there's got to be SOMEONE out there that likes them... :)

  3. Great post and a wonderful perspective! Couldn't agree more! :)

  4. Really? They told you that?? Cra-zy! I like Red Solo Cup, and SHake it baby drives ME up the wall. ROFL And personally, I flow with whatever music is playing. Unless it's overtly sexual or inappropriate and makes me blush, then I change it. LOL

  5. I love what I love and no one should judge what the young like as long as it doesn't incite violence and the degradation of others. I was prepared not to like this blog, but I ended up understanding it. I kinda like that manband you mentioned too.

  6. Music affects our lives so much. I am 57, so I was a late 60s, early 70s listener, and I listened to everything, and I thank my Mom for allowing that. I remember my grandparents thinking The Beatles had to be from the devil himself, lol. But isn't it funny, I can't remember two weeks ago, but I can still remember the words to the songs of my generation. Bet you can too. Thank you for letting your girls have their music, no matter what others say. They will thank you later.


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