Tagged: Justin Bieber

Making Sense of Justin Bieber’s Journal Entries

Also on Noisey

Justin Bieber is the closest thing we have to a thoroughbred popstar in 2013. He possesses the precise combination of charisma, self-destruction and talent needed in order to excel as a young adult in the music business, leaving behind his wanton days of YouTube fame and hair-flipping.

Most recently he’s been spotted in the bed of a curvy South American prostitute, fulfilling the dream of every 19-year-old boy who just discovered his favorite PornHub channel. He’s also managed to build a streak of hate that stretches across the world due to his questionable actions.

All of his recent actions can’t be easily dismissed by a simple excuse: He disrespected the first black president of the United States Bill Clinton, he proclaimed that Anne Frank would be DTF if she was a young girl today, he refused to soil his new shoes by walking the Great Wall of China, and he used an Argentinean flag as a mop during his live show. But almost all of Justin’s actions are rooted in his youthful ignorance.

It’s worth remembering that Justin Bieber is from Stratford, Ontario, a town previously most famous for hosting an annual festival in honor of Shakespeare. But let’s be honest—Justin hasn’t known anything but the music industry since Scooter Braun kidnapped him at 14.

He’s never attended a single day of high school. How do you expect him to know who Anne Frank is if he never sat through History class? Or that national flags should only be used to clean up dry spills—a topic that all Canadian students discuss thoroughly in Grade 11 Civics. Justin’s personality is only strange when we compare him to “normal” teens, but being normal means you can’t be the most popular in the world for the last three years.

Here’s some perspective: Usher came out with My Way when he was 19, which is Justin’s current age. Justin has already released three studio albums (more if you count the acoustic accompaniments), a movie and three diferent perfumes in his already five year long campaign. His last album Believe contains glorious pop hits, infused with flavors from traditional R&B to Motown oldies. Besides the fact that it was musically one of his best albums, Believe also sold the worst, racking up only 1.5 million sales to date—which is a lot in this climate, but consider that his first album has sold 5 million and the Christmas album he released six months before Believe has sold over 2 million).

Some pointed to the fact that Believe leans too close to the “urban” side of things and that Justin abandoned the pop formula that made him famous. When “Baby” dropped featuring a neutered Ludacris spitting a lukewarm 16, it felt like a legitimate co-sign. That feeling didn’t translate to the Big Sean, Drake and Nicki Minaj cameos on Believe since Bieber is arguably bigger than those artists. But Believe is an important stepping stone in the life of Justin Bieber. If you want to have career longevity, it can’t be as a pop star. The very definition of pop music is that it’s ephemeral, changing with the times to reflect what society values the most. The only way for Bieber to stay relevant was to crossover, and Believe was the first dribble.

For his fourth studio album, Justin is taking a page from Kanye’s GOOD Friday book and releasing a song from the untitled project every Monday. Based on what we’ve heard for the last six weeks, the new album will be the second coming of Confessions. Granted, there probably won’t be tales of an unwanted pregnancy and a scorned girlfriend since a 19 year old can’t tell you shit about love and loss, but that doesn’t make these singles any less amazing.

Let’s look at all of them in depth, analyzing them according to the cover art, production and songwriting. I was originally going to include originality as a metric, but that’s a useless measure when discussing the human conduit known as Justin Bieber.

“Heartbreaker”

Cover Art: 3/5

Awe, it’s like a wilted heart! WHO DID THIS TO YOU JUSTIN, I’LL KILL THEM!

Production: 2/5

Plucky guitar and snares start the song, but that shifts to dark, ominous drums about halfway through the song. It’s an R&B beat with one foot in pop tropes.

Songwriting: 2/5

This song is all about Justin calling a girl to come over for a secret bootycall and then getting mad at her afterwards for saying he broke her heart. But then during the talk-rap portion of the song that’s lifted directly from “Confessions Pt. 2,” Justin says that he still loves her and that there are four seasons in the year or some shit. Stop leading me on, Justin.

“All That Matters”

Cover Art: 1/5

You know when you decide to make a logo for yourself, so you just connect the first and last letters of your name in an intricate fashion? That’s what Justin appears to have done with “ATM” here but it just fills me with disgust and confusion.

Production: 4/5

Acoustic guitar with trap drums? Yes please.

Songwriting: 3/5

Justin has dedicated this song to his supposed better half, using romantic imagery such as comparing himself to a car with no gas when she’s not around—no drive. However, he also mentions that this female only appears at night, meaning that this whole song is either some complicated metaphor for a dream girl, or another ode to late-night bootycalls.

“Hold Tight”

Cover Art: 3/5

A preemptive pause to help those enjoying this song justify their actions to themselves.

Production: 5/5

This is moisture music. The air gets damp like a fucking rain forest the second you press play. Put all of your electronic devices in a bag of rice before you decide to listen to this.

Songwriting: 3/5

Justin Bieber painfully wants to be a bad boy, making this song about lips that hold on tight—presumably to his Stratford Beacon. Unfortunately he’s still obviously a 19-year-old boy in many ways, as evident by the groan-worthy inclusion of lyrics like “wrapped around my arm like a wristwatch”. Granted, there’s a good chance that Justin didn’t write any of the songs on this album, but until we can assign the blame squarely to Terius or some faceless ghostwriter, this is Justin’s burden to bare.

“Recovery”

Cover Art: 4/5

Extra points for jacking 2010 Eminem’s swag and just making it purple.

Production: 6/5

True story: I saw doves fly past my window and copulate when I first heard this song. A Craig David flip insinuates that whoever made this beat is a huge Ryan Hemsworth fan, making this song a pinnacle of East-meets-slightly-more-East Canadian greatness.

Songwriting: 5/5

Justin’s very apologetic in this song, coping with the struggles of keeping a relationship afloat without any previous experience. He speaks candidly about making mistakes and causing problems without truly implicating himself in any wrongdoing. Just like a real Canadian!

“Bad Day”

Cover Art: 5/5

This art looks like his team spent more than five minutes just looking at the keyboard for infrequently used symbols, so points for that.

Production: 2/5

Acoustic guitars and simple drums and snares? Meh. There’s some background singers on the tail end of this too, leading me to assume that Boyz II Men are still hanging around Bieber trying to get another co-sign.

Songwriting: 4/5

This song is about being broken up with, probably as a result of all the fuckery Justin described in the last two songs.

“All Bad”

Cover Art: .5/5

Are you fucking kidding me?

Production: 4/5

Heavy drums over some ethereal production, allowing Justin to sweep up the XO supporters that have gone straight-edge since someone slipped something into their drink at the last basement party they attended.

Songwriting: 4/5

Now Justin is begging for the girl that left him to come back because, in the grand scheme of things, he’s not THAT bad, girl. Don’t listen to the haters, they just wanna be you, girl. But girl, even if I make you mad and you leave, don’t worry, because I still have the number of that bootycall and it’s starting to get dark outside.

Bonus: “Tulips” f/ R. Kelly (Prediction)

Cover Art: 5/5

A purple tulip, parted in a way that implies the flower is a metaphor for something else that’s also commonly referred to as a flower.

Production: 4/5

An acoustic rendition of a DJ Mustard beat.

Songwriting: 5/5

The song starts off with Justin talking about “two lips” with some thinly veiled sex metaphors. The mood of the song decidedly switches when R.Kelly joins in, vividly describing the various ways that he will beat that pussy up. I’d have to do some research, but I’m pretty sure this is the first R&B song to ever mention double penetration.

5 Things Soulja Boy Invented

This article also appeared on Noisey

Take yourself back to a more innocent time. A time when the final Harry Potter book had yet to be released, when Bob Barker was still hosting The Price Is Right, and when wearing a long white short sleeve t-shirt was still considered fashionable. It was 2007, and DeAndre Way was 17 years old. Looking to get his talent out of Atlanta and in front of millions of potential fans, DeAnre recorded a music video equipped with a catchy dance routine. It worked. DeAndre Way went on to become Soulja Boy and Soulja Boy went on to become the most polarizing figure in rap music since Vanilla Ice.

While certain old people criticize him for ruining hip-hop and being on their lawn, others laud him for embracing the invigoration of the “Singles Era,” where a string of catchy songs could lay as the foundation of your career. It’s the ages-old pop formula, applied to rap and done so perfectly. Soulja Boy‘s debut was literally everywhere in 2007, but he also followed it up with a number of hits off all of his first three albums after that. Even though these days he seems more interested in making weird, occasionally wonderful mixtapes than sculpting bangers that both soccer moms and teenage girls know the words to, Soulja Boy has done more than just release potentially some of the greatest albums ever. Here are five things that Soulja Boy invented by himself with no help from anybody!

Being An Early Adopter

Up until 2007, artists were mainly using MySpace to spread their talents around. Soulja Boy was one of these MySpace users but he also saw the opportunity present in using YouTube—then only two years old—to release not only his music video, but also an instructional video where he explained how to perform the dance in an abandoned swimming pool. Before “Crank Dat” took over YouTube, the faux-marketing concept of a viral video didn’t even exist. In addition to helping YouTube become the multimedia giant that they are today, Soulja Boy continues to be one of the first users to successfully grasp how a new app works. Twitter, Instagram and Vine were blessed with Soulja Boy‘s presence in their infancy, making DeAndre the biggest celebrity in Silicon valley since that time the guys at Twitter made Kanye West perform in exchange for a verified check mark.

Intricate and Widely Accepted Dance Routines

The thing that never gets mentioned when criticizing the Crank Dat dance is just how damn difficult it was. Jump-cross-jump-uncross-right-foot-to-left-hand-stomp-right-knee-tap-superman-pushoff? Are you fucking kidding me? It brought together the popular snap dance craze, was made better when performed with a long t-shit and looked great when properly executed on a high-school gymnasium floor. Compare that to the Gangnam Style Pony Dance or the newfangled, no-guideline bullshits like the Harlem Shake and the flailing invisible pull-up monstrosity that is “Rap Hands,” and marvel at the amount of coordination the general population had in 2007. There’s a good chance that everyone that has ever said anything negative about Soulja Boy has only done so because they were unable to pull off the Crank Dat dance. Those people deserve all of your pity.

Internet Rappers

What do Lil B, Chief Keef, Riff Raff and Migos have in common? All of them honed their talents in the SODMG incubator. And although Soulja Boy may not have been able to keep some of these bridges from being burnt as time went on, he’s still discovered more made-for-the-internet rappers than Lyor Cohen or Tumblr. It’s almost become a weird rite of passage for upstart talent that looks to make popular music that pisses purists off. Making a song with Soulja Boy is the audio equivalent of Hollywood’s casting couch: off-putting but necessary.

Being a Bad Influence on Justin Bieber

Before Lil Twist taught Justin how to roll a joint and turned him into Biebervelli, the foundation had already been set by DeAndre. Justin couldn’t help falling under Soulja’s influence and has done some very Soulja-like things since his floppy-haired days. The tattoos, the explosion of attitude, the pet monkey. All of these events stem from listening to too much Pretty Boy Swag.

A Renaissance In Indie Gaming

Braid was the critically-acclaimed independent video game that was very popular to a small group of people when it was released on the Xbox Live Arcade. But praise from critics can only take you so far and positive reviews don’t pay the rent, so the game’s creator needed someone to help bring the joy of Braid to the masses. Fortunately, Soulja Boy downloaded it and thought it was fucking brilliant. He posted a video where he praised the time-travel mechanism and Braid sales climbed as a result. The financial success that the game’s creator Jonathan Blow received caused a number of game developers to begin working on their own dream-game. This renaissance in gaming even went on to inspire a documentary called Indie Game: The Movie. Unfortunately, in the movie Jonathan Blow says that Soulja Boy‘s praise of the game’s top layer (the mechanics and the aesthetics) may have caused people to not look beyond the surface and see the true meaning of Braid. I’m not sure what the true meaning is, but it obviously doesn’t revolve around being grateful because JONATHAN BLOW IS A GIANT SACK OF SHIT FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING THE GIFT HE HAS RECEIVED.

Behind The Boards – Cardiak

This interview also appeared on Noisey

What beat are you the most proud of from your entire career?
“Start It Up” was my first big record and my most notable to date so a lot of people know me from that beat.

How did it get chosen?
That was actually an old beat. I used to rap a while ago and I did a song to it and it was sitting in my archives. When I was sending beats to G-Unit, I was sending so many that I was running out, so I just ended up putting it in one of the last batches I sent over. Lloyd Banks really loved it and the A&R ending up hitting me up like “man, why didn’t you send us this beat earlier?!” So now whenever I shop my beats I send everything I’ve got, new & old.

Did you think that beat would blow up like it did?
No I didn’t even know where that song was going. At first it was just Banks, and then I heard a version with 50 Cent on it, and then out of nowhere they told me that Swizz Fab and Kanye hopped on it so I was just shocked. And when I heard it on the radio for the first time it was amazing.

Do you have a favorite musical instrument?
I’d say piano, because that’s the only classical instrument I play. It really depends on the artist, for Rick Ross I choose a soulful sample and then play the keys on top of it; for Meek Mil I’ll make something that’s mostly horns & synthesizers, but the piano is my favorite sound.

What do you use to make your beats and why do you use that thing?
I use Fruity Loops because that’s what I started out with and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so I’ve been using that for so long that it’s become easy. One of my boys put me on Fruity Loops version 3 when I was like 12 and then when I started rapping I was tired of just rhyming over instrumentals, so I just started making my own beats. I’ve used Logic before and I like it, but I mainly use it for the sounds and then balance it out and export that to FL Studio.

How long does it take you to make a beat?
Start It Up took about 10-15 minutes. I can get an idea done in about 5 minutes, but then I take my time and go back and structure it properly.

How involved are you in the process of making a song?
A majority of the time I just do it via email, sending the song and whatever idea I might have for it. If they rock with it, they use my idea, if not they just use the beat. I’ve been in the studio with Meek and Ace Hood a lot and they’re receptive to whatever commentary I have, but most of the time what they’re doing is already hot and I have nothing to add.

At what age did you decide you didn’t want to work a real job?
Actually, back in like 2012 when Start It Up & 600 Benz came out I was still working a regular job. I was at Pizza Hut but I had to get surgery on my arm, so I quit and started working over-nights at Wal-Mart, but the second I got my publishing deal I quit and started doing music full-time.

What misconception do people have about Jersey citizens?
I feel like New Jersey is overlooked a lot to be honest. We’ve had dudes coming out and do their thing for a while like Joe Budden, but a lot of people don’t know that someone like Just Blaze is from Patterson, New Jersey. That’s my favorite producer and the guy that inspired me, so Jersey‘s definitely got talent. We just need to make ourselves known.

What’s your favorite era of New Jersey?
2001-2002, around the time Jay’s Blueprint came out and Just Blaze was making crazy beats. I was getting into music at the time and it really inspired me to make beats.

What’s your least favorite trend to come out of the Jersey in recent memory?
There’s a lot of motherfuckers in New Jersey that still wear baggy-ass shit like long white tees, baggy jeans, dirty shoes, all that shit. We definitely do not do that any more, but a lot of people from Jersey still do.

What’s one common thread that connects the sound coming out of Jersey?
Put it this way: New York is the Mecca, so when people look at Jersey they just see that it for being small and the fact are no real “popular” rappers. So we have a chip on our shoulder and we use that to prove ourselves I think.

Do you download music illegally?
I’m not even gonna lie, I do sometimes. I find all my new music through twitter.

Do you Google yourself?
Not Google, but I’ll put my name in the Twitter search bar from time to time to see what people are saying about me. I read the good and the bad, it doesn’t really affect me much though.

Who is one artist from a genre other than rap/hip-hop that you want to work with?
I wanna work with a real big artist that touches all genres and lets me step outside the box. Someone like Rihanna or even Justin Bieber would be cool.

What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working with the usual suspects: Wale, French Montana, DJ Khlaed, Ace Hood, Rick Ross. But I’ve also been working on a lot of R&B records too trying to get stuff to Rihanna, Chris Brown and all them, so I’m just waiting to hear back on that. But as far as the placements go, I’m going to be on Excuse My French and Wale’s album dropping later this year so look out for that.

Haiku Reviews – Believe

This post has also appeared on Passion of the Weiss

All Around The World feat. Ludacris
Stutters and synths meet
with high-tempo kicks and a
lazy Luda verse.

Boyfriend
Bring 2Chainz back in.
I’m already sick of this.
Swag swag swag swag swag.

As Long As You Love Me feat. Big Sean
Big Sean interrupts
what could have been a throwback
Backstreet Boys-esque jam.

Take You
Dangerous Bieber
propositions you for sex
(only if you want)

Right Here feat. Drake
Chemistry so slick,
I can barely distinguish
one voice from the next.

Catching Feelings
Could whoever writes
Justin’s songs, ask him (kindly)
to enunciate?

Fall
Not an expert, but
didn’t Miley already
do this exact song?

Die In Your Arms
Cheerful old-school vibes,
like something Mike’s dad would’ve
forced him to preform.

Thought Of You
An energized tune
filled with uplifting vocals.
Fuck this little kid.

Beauty And A Beat feat. Nicki Minaj
Usher must be pissed
that Justin took his record
and made it better.

One Love
Upbeat drums and keys
with a recognized chorus.
Take that Bob Marley!

Be Alright
Forgettably safe.
Will accidentally make
someone fall in love.

Believe
Mellow; inspired;
evokes enough emotion
to drive a purchase.

Out Of Town Girl
Catchy production
mixed with come-hither content
and Timberland’s flow.

She Don’t Like The Lights
Justin croons about
his new girlfriend’s condition
of Xeroderma.

Maria
Best beef of last year
leads to Billie Jean part two…
watered down with piss

A Resignation Letter from a Former Hipster

This article was also featured on Points In Case

The following is a resignation letter from the most respected man in a society as secretive as Skull and Bones and as influential as The Illuminati. It was found in a place where one would expect to find such a letter—in a very secretive place few people have access to (write your own fucking joke). I’ve wanted to put it in a place where nobody would ever look, so I’m posting it here:

If you’re reading this letter it means I’ve left this wretched society. Sure I loved the exclusive perks and god-like adoration, but enough is enough.

Perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself; “What society is this you speak of?” Oh, didn’t you know? There’s this thing called the Hipster Aristocacy, and it’s kind of a big deal. At least, it used to be…

I’ve been a part of the Aristocracy for about ten years. We always operate in secret, seeking out the coolest things before they’re even on the buzz radar of teenage girls in LA or angsty New York Jewish boys. I’ll never forget my first assignment: scoping out Justin Bieber’s baptism. Back then, we had an eye for talent, and I would serve loyally to the pursuit of “alt.” I was behind the rise, fall, plateau, plummet, and eventually skyrocketing success of Amy Winehouse’s career (I didn’t kill her, but we knew it was coming). But after all these years of trying to be on the cusp of edginess, I woke up this morning and realized, I’m mainstream. So today, I hang up my studded Vibrams and pursue another path.

We used to be able to keep a secret to ourselves. Sure we would tell the “peons” about the next big pop act, but we had our own indulgences. Do you know what I heard in the mall when I was getting my antique watch repaired? Mumford & Sons. IN THE MALL. How did we let that one spill, guys? How did the general public get a taste of our alt-juice? You “peons” may not know this, but we were actually on Twitter in 2001, before it even existed. It was a great way for us to communicate, but now every bro can, and has, leeched off our buzz by spying on our twittersations. And that’s just the music! I can’t even count how many times I walked into a bar last month and saw people drinking PBR unironically!

I’m not the only one choosing to leave, but I am the only one willing to admit we’ve gone “lamestream.” The others have their own subtle ways; just last week I saw Alabaster sneaking an iPod onto the castle grounds when he knows that we only allow the iRiver. Speaking of the castle, it doesn’t even look buzzworthy. When we first set it up in that gentrified ghetto it was just our kind, but years after kicking the poor people out we’re now faced with a stampede of SUVs and chain restaurants. Not only that, but the pastel wallpaper looks so January 2011 and the shag carpeting on the inside is trampled to bits. I blame Tiffany for putting mountain bike tires on her 10-speed so that she could get more traction. Everyone is secretly looking for work too. Rumour has it that Geophf even applied to Urban Outfitters and spelled his name “Jeff” on the resume.

Maybe it’s time to stop being so “alt” and take a step back. The gentrification was great while it lasted, and maybe being mainstream isn’t so bad; the Olive Garden they opened up down the block has great bread. No, it’s not kosher or gluten-free, but I don’t care anymore if my chest piece tattoo starts to sag with my man-boobs. I’ll just wear a shirt and tie every day; I have a closet full of knitted ties anyway and now that Justin fucking Timberlake wore one in that movie they’re mainstream, so I guess it all works out.

It’s kind of freeing, this feeling of being stale. I hope all my brothers and sisters follow me out of their ivory towers (literally) and wade into the lame, er…mainstream.

Forever yours,

Gabriael Coqurnilius