I’m still no “Belieber” — and I probably never will be. But today I finally listened to Justin Bieber’s new song “Boyfriend” (the first single from Believe, his forthcoming third album), and I did something I never expected to do. I listened to it again. And again. Twice.
I know, crazy, right?
I’ll probably be completely over it by tomorrow, but here are five reasons why “Boyfriend” is the best of Bieber so far, if only for one night.
1. You can’t dance to it. That’s right. I’m sick of pop stars inviting me to get on the floor. No matter how hard David Guetta tries to sell it to me, I’m so over nothing but the beat. And with nearly everyone on the charts trying to sound like Guetta’s latest guest vocalist, it’s refreshing to hear Bieber going against the pop grain by delivering something that’s unmistakably purely pop.
|Can you spot Bieber’s old hair?|
2. He finally looks right. I know that shouldn’t have anything to do with how the song sounds, but it does. It’s amazing what a decent hairstyle can do. If you’re going to try to sing sexy, you should at least look old enough to date. For the first time since Bieber’s shooting star came out of nowhere, I can sort of understand why teenage girls would dig him. Ironically, I could swear that’s his old hair on a couple of the guys in One Direction, the UK boy band that might be his stiffest teen-idol competition yet.
3. He’s learning from that other Justin. “Boyfriend” sounds like it could have been on Justin Timberlake’s first solo album, 2002’s Justified (with the rapped/spoken bits more in the vocal vein of Michael Jackson’s HIStory track “Money”). That means Bieber isn’t covering any new musical ground here, nor has he suddenly turned into a serious artist (just in case the title hadn’t already tipped you off to that). But the track is appealingly lean and tastefully produced, with Bieber showing off just enough vocal range to make future creative growth seem like a possibility, if not quite yet a distinct probability. Don’t forget he only recently turned 18!
4. It doesn’t feature Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne or Chris Brown. There’s no law that says you have to invite one of the four most overexposed pop stars on the planet to join you on your latest single. God bless the child who’s got his own and can sing on his own.
5. It’s short and sweet. Here’s one of those times when less is definitely more. At 2:52, “Boyfriend” is as long as it needs to be. If I’m going to feel guilty for listening to it yet again — and belieber me, I do — at least I know that the feeling won’t last long.