Hi, I’m JotaKa. I’m a rocker by birth and grew listening to rock discs and long plays by the dozen. This is a prank. My girlfriend hacked my schedule and prompted this one on there. I had no intention of doing this to me now, but here it is. Now I’m being blackmailed to do this one, so, I have to do it. I bought this one I believe in April to make a theme month, but as I wasn’t able to deliver everything on schedule, I wasn’t on the mood to say that a May blog was on an April theme. Enough with that, let’s get a little background, just to pretend that this one is a normal review.
The year is 2010. The H1N1 influenza scare ended with its usual contamination level returning to normal. Iron Maiden releases their last album to date and Dio was victim of a stomach cancer. Sony and Microsoft try to get in the motion control business by releasing PS Move and Kinect, with mixed opinions, and the original Perfect Dark (you know, the good one) goes to XBLA. I paid way too much money to see a crappy movie like Alice in Wonderland when I could’ve seen Toy Story 3 and gotten a really emotional reunion with Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
Justin Bieber, a Canadian kid singer, two years prior, was nothing. I mean that in the most sincere of ways, he just showed up. I’m not saying that you must need experience and time to be good, it’s just that for me, this guy appeared from nowhere. At one time, I was like “Bieber Who?”, now he become kind of like a personality that you either love or despise, and to be quite honest, I’m on the despise side. But let’s focus on his background.
He did something that I personally was ready to bash, but on closer inspection, I found out I was wrong. I hate it when people bundle old stuff with new stuff, to make people pay the price of an entire album for just one new song, but he was pretty tame about this. He released My World, My World 2.0 (which I though was just a long play version of the extended play, with some extra songs, you can’t really blame me for that, look at the name of the album) and My Worlds Acoustic, with acoustic version of his singles, some other songs and an exclusive one (Pray, from Karate Kid), to the later on release My Worlds: The Collection, which is, well, all of the songs he recorded so far, with the exception of some remixes and iTunes and Walmart exclusive. To me, it seems kind of strange that someone with only two completely original album releases a compilation kit, but with the fanbase he has, money is never enough I guess.
One of the things that I always say, and almost always get someone to say to me that I’m dead wrong, is that I see in this kid potential to be a new Michael Jackson. I really do. Michael Jackson started out young, so did Justin Bieber, although admittedly not that young and both had kid friendly oriented starts. I really wish that someday when I’m older, I can have a Justin Bieber album, just like I have Thriller, and say to people that ask me for suggestions “You know what? Listen to Bieber. But not the early albums, hear this one.” as I do nowadays with the album ABC. Good but not really my cup of tea.
The cover of the album is lazy as hell, but I guess that’s what the fans want: a picture of him. So far, all of his albums are the same exact idea for the cover: I hope he gets inventive sometime, at least have a fucking background, it’s not that hard to do. To be frank, it’s easier to include a background: and depending on your target audience, just adding a different background makes the difference. The album clocks at 37:37, which is bad for a retail price, but then again, his target audience is not known for having a huge attention span. The longest track is Never Let You Go with only 4:24 and the shortest one is U Smile with 3:16. Actually, a pretty good panorama: the first sign of something that may be enjoyable. It’s only 10 short tracks.
Another one of my problems with Justin Bieber is that he is a record breaker and this album is no exception: Before him, only The Beatles debuted at first in the billboard charts. He is the youngest artist to have an album in first ever, and had two albums on the top 5 at the same time, being this one and My World. This one got first place in most album charts around the world. So, let’s get this over with: Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0”.
1st track: “Baby (feat. Ludacris)” – First of all, let’s take that featuring part into account. I’m not a huge fan of raping and hip hop (in fact, for me it’s not easy to differentiate them, but I know there is a difference), but Ludacris, actor and rapper that already released seven studio albums, is not bad. In fact, he has some quality with some ideas that are kind of good. I did not listen to everything he released, of course, but what I already listened, he’s not half bad. So, on to the song: this one is, I believe, his most famous track to this date, with everyone on the internet already having listened to it. As most people who really did hear it, it’s bad. The lack of instruments makes me shiver and his voice is not the worst voice I ever heard, but it’s not great either: like a C- grade voice. Lyrically is where I find this song to fail in a giant level. If the kid wants to advertise that his songs are for everyone, it has to be for everyone. People say that this album is a more mature album, but what is the theme of the lyrics? His first school love broke up with him. It’s like R&B for kids: it’s ridiculous. I’m not saying that it’s a subject that shouldn’t be touched (in fact, Cat Stevens did it and did it right with Remember the Days of the Old School Yard), but it should be worked upon, not be the fundament of your song. The chorus is catchy as hell, with the “baby”s part going to stay in your head for some time. And for the first time in my life, I think I’m able to say: the rapping part doesn’t fit at all. For what I could gather, Ludacris is a more of comedy rapper, with some easy and fun to hear lyrics. You can actually understand why the first verse of the rapping exists: so that he wouldn’t sound like a pedophile. And believe me when I say it doesn’t work. I feel sorry for Ludacris: this is not a good song.
2nd track: “Somebody to Love” – Oh no, he didn’t! Uff… he didn’t, it’s another song with different title. Dodged a bullet there. So… Usher… he’s the kind of guy that I got to know with “Yeah”, and since then, nothing else kind of had that same medium quality, going from horribly wrong to some catchy tunes, but nothing spectacular (hell, nothing good even). Usher, aside from being a rapper, is also Bieber’s mentor and this song was originally given to him, but he had some issues with the label and the song passed down. This song, albeit better than the previous, is just mild remedy for hurt ears. With a melody purely electronic and Usher doing some back vocals (by the way, I don’t think Usher would improve this song if he was lead singer), this song seems completely outdated, taking none risks whatsoever to become something original and with some quality. It’s your typical obsessed love song, which has been done and redone, but that wouldn’t be an issue if, well, for starters, the lyrics are old as walking backwards (it makes Elton’s Your Song lyrics sound original) and the melody and harmony sound like it has been done before, I don’t know by whom. And even though I believe that this song is a blatant copy of some other song that I can’t recall which one is it, it’s still a little better than the first one.
3rd track: “Stuck in the Moment” – This song is so… horribly made, that it actually bring tears to my eyes. Trust me when I say that when he first made reference to Romeo and Juliet, I was kind of thrilled, but when he thrown that out, it made me sorry for giving this song any credits after the shoddy intro. It is my firm belief that if you want to make a reference, you have to know what the hell you are referencing. You can’t just throw some generic usual references and expect to be just that and let’s move on. He cites Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, Adam and Eve and Sonny and Cher, and you can clearly see that whoever made these lyrics (I know it wasn’t him alone), hasn’t opened any Shakespeare screenplay or the Bible for that matter. While the lyrics are stupid and meaningless, the melody is better than the second one, but the electronic drum kit always drove me insane. The lyrics are something I just can’t let pass by: I’m no English teacher, but I’m pretty sure that there are some errors in there.
4th track: “U Smile” – Finally instruments! The fourth track brings with it piano and some real instruments. And although not perfect, this song is enjoyable. It has that soul quality to it, but the real instruments give it a feel that I didn’t hear before in this album. Lyrically, it’s silly, but it’s a pretty enjoyable song, as it reminds me, although downplayed, of some other poppy bands of the eighties. It lacks originality, as it sounds, again, as something I’ve already heard before but not quite sure what it is, but as Bieber said himself “U Smile is one of the best songs I have ever recorded”. It is limited, yes, it’s not the best singing and although the piano sounds like angels are playing it, it may be because I’m in a Bieber album, but overall, this one is a great song. This one deserves to be in pop greatest songs in the future, however, it will probably be overshadowed by “Baby” in years to come.
5th track: “Runaway Love” – With a funky twist, this one comes around as a surprise. It sounds like it belongs inside in a mid-eighties early nineties album, but that does not mean it is a good funk song. It sounds like a song that would be rejected by the Jackson Five in the end of its career, but even if it was made by the Jackson Five, it would sound better. I have the feeling that to situate this song into funky eighties, it was recorded in an artificially down gradable way, not so much that it would become lo-fi, but still, it’s effect is still pretty hard on the ears. It’s not as bad as the first three songs, but it doesn’t have the charisma of “U Smile” that still leaves an impression, even though this song and U Smile are often considered the same type of song, aiming other demographics that aren’t Justin Bieber’s usual demographics.
6th track: “Never Let You Go” – Another strange song, as it does not have any of the problems of most of Bieber’s song nor the benefit of the doubt of being directed to a way younger audience. It shares a strong resemblance to Somebody to Love, feeling like a slow version of the second track, but with a kind of a Eurythmics trick to it, making it sound a little more mature of a pop song. As the longest song of the album, it’s not punishable bad, but it’s not a great track. With some bad choice of instrumentation, an echo that repeats words that doesn’t fit the melody and a piano so far in the background that it shouldn’t be even consider, this song still should be listened.
7th track: “Overboard (feat. Jessica Jarell) – It has been some time from now that I saw a name that didn’t mean anything to me. And well, it really doesn’t mean anything. It’s some whatever name that is trying, apparently, try to catch some of Bieber’s success as she releases some stuff on her own. Let’s take a look on how it all came together. It’s really bad when the obscure name on your album has more potential for a singing voice than the lead act. Oh, she can’t sing shit now, but you can really hear that she may become something someday in the singing department. With piano, some strings, a bass, a guitar and a fucking annoying beat on top of it all, ruining all of the instruments before mentioned and Bieber singing only in some parts. This song is only enjoyable if you think it would be enjoyable to hear a Bieber song with some girl with a hoarse voice singing. It has some minor moments, but it’s a forgettable track: it’s good that we are not getting shitty songs, just average songs. But at least shitty songs you still remember afterwards.
8th track: “Eenie Meenie (feat. Sean Kingston) – I didn’t know the guy who made my pen drive sang. No, but seriously, this one is a singer and does not have a lot of weight in the musical community. In fact, making this collab with Bieber made him look worse to the rapping crowd in general and did not appeal to most of the pop young oriented crowd that listens to Bieber. To the song, it start creepy. Maybe it’s just me that think that kid chants are creepy, but the start is just that, and then Sean starts the blandest lyrics that I’ve heard since I listened to Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. “She’s Indecisive/She can’t decide” really, Captain Obvious? And the worst of all is that the chorus reminds of that piece of pop garbage that is “hush hush” by the pussycat dolls. And when Bieber starts singing, because he doesn’t let Obvious Man sing the whole song, it sounds like a couple’s duet. I’m dead serious. I’m trying really hard to not use the “voice too feminine” card, but next to Sean’s voice, he sounds like an obnoxious girl. And the worst part is that this song would work hell of a lot better if it was that instead of two male singers, of course, with some lyrical changes. This song can be summarized to simple “bad choices”. The melody and harmony are just like Gaga’s “Bad Romance” at some points, making this particular song sound like a bad rip-off.
9th track: “Up” – Another forgettable boring and bland song. It sounds as an Elton John’s song gone bad, incredibly bad. Lyrically, it has a positive message, but the way he delivers it in such an awkward fashion that a song that could sound like a “Whole New World” (it’s clearly the intention, actually) sounds like something from “A Leprechaun in Central Park”. The worst part is when it hints to a guitar solo that maybe would be enjoyable, but even though my hopes were up, it wasn’t delivered at the faintest. After Eenie Meenie, this song is not completely bad, but that would be giving it to merit. If I was to praise every average song after a huge fuck up, I would do a lot of bad judgements. In the context of the album, this one comes a relief, but not as a standalone song.
10th track: “That Should Be Me” – Ah, go fuck yourselves. Really? Are you fucking kidding me? Go straight to fucking hell, you fucking bastards! This song is fucking great! I was ready to get satisfied at fucking bread crumbs, after Up and some other god awful choices, because I was thinking “hey, maybe it’s the limit for a guy this age”, but go fuck every one of you! It’s a break up song, made by the book, lyrically. But musically, it’s kind of like Avril Lavigne angst songs done right. It starts as a boy band song would start, and that made me lift my hopes a little, but I wasn’t expecting this fucker. He sings like a man, sorry, after Eenie Meenie, that should be addressed. HOW THE FUCK THIS IS NOT A SINGLE? It’s well done, it’s well instrumented, with a excellently well done back vocals, a guitar based song (you know, instead of a crap based song), his singing is great, the chorus is fucking great, I mean really, it is great. Now, I got to the fucking end of the fucking album and I’m in the mood to listen more Bieber, but I know that if I lay my finger on that fucking repeat button, it’s gonna take me all the way back to that “Baby” crap and not to, well, songs like these. If by some bizarre twist of fate, Bieber is reading this, make more songs like this. Even the lo-fi gimmick that I hate is well played in this, even though it shadows a probably good guitar excerpt.
So, how does it hold up? It doesn’t. It’s a bad album. But I have to say that it’s better than I was hoping for. I can now say genuinely that this guy has some things enjoyable and of all these 10 songs, three songs should be listened to (being U Smile, Never Let You Go and That Should Be Me) and the rest should be thrown out the window. If you are a bieber fan, maybe the whole album is for you. I don’t quite agree with most reviewers saying that every song in the album could be a hit, but I can see who the public audience is and it’s not me. For the average listener, listen to those three tracks. For those who say that Bieber is horseshit but never listened to it, at least listen to “That Should Be Me” or “U Smile”. And if you are a more heavy style of music oriented, just stay the fuck away from this album.
This is JotaKa, signing off.