• Pop Vicious

Does Your ‘Boyfriend’ Treat You to Fondue?

written by: on April 12, 2012

Aside from last Winter’s holiday compilation Underneath The Mistletoe, “Boyfriend” is the first taste fans have gotten from Justin Bieber since 2010’s My World 2.0. With this came a daring new haircut, a fresh lil’ boo and an evolution of character, one who was more dedicated to his fans and his talents than ever.

“Boyfriend,” released March 26th, is the first single from the upcoming Believe, which is Bieber’s third studio album. What immediately startled listeners was the presence of a heavy hip-hop beat that hasn’t been heard in Bieber’s discography just yet. A high whistle with a low clap leads the intro before a set of spoken words shocks the ears that were accustomed to hearing the words in a particularly serenading fashion.

His rap-like lyrics sputter: “If I was your boyfriend I’d never let you go/I can take you places you ain’t ever been before” in the most insightful and eye-opening lyrical testament to date. Onward with the sarcasm.

Before we’re allowed to throw a fit at the lack of vocal in this piece, he sings, “Say hello to the falsetto in one-three-two,” and all is relieved. What we hear in the pre-chorus is a melody stripped from a Justified B-side, delivering the falsetto Justin promises and a dance along the most harmless chorus that dabbles with a sense of steaminess for the first time in Bieber’s career.

Unlike the horrors of poor Peter Brady on TV’s the Brady Bunch with the infamous “Time To Change” – or rather, any young man’s in the world – Bieber’s voice changed glamorously. His fans twittered in crisis mode, hoping his image would stay afloat while haters inevitably waited for his career to come to its demise. “ I have the best vocal coach in the world and we’re working on my voice and doing what I need to do,” he assured fans. And with that, the then-seventeen-year-old grew into his new set of pipes as the work with this “best vocal coach in the world” paid off and the reign of the youth superstar lived on.

Comparing debut single “One Time” with recent releases reveals a difference like night and day. Bieber’s growth is almost humorously prevalent over the course of only a few years.

Fast forward, and learn that “Boyfriend” lacks the hook that with the ability to get stuck in your head. There’s also humiliatingly dumb lyrics, at times rhyming “swag on you” with “eatin’ fondue” and filling dead endspace with “na na nas” before the song cuts out. Yet there’s something so fulfilling about this unexpected shift in flavor.

People forget that the chipmunk is actually eighteen years old and has been signed to a record label for almost five years. He’s almost entitled to make such career moves as signing people to his own label and make a transition stylistically. His unbelievably (unbeliebably?) dedicated female-dominated fanbase will support him and trend him on twitter until the day he quits. As long as he’s riding the wave of the fame from My Worlds, he’s at liberty to explore the expansive world of music that’s incidentally available to him.

But for an analysis of Bieber’s new song “Boyfriend” to be truly vicious, we need to go a little further. It isn’t hard to grill the Biebs, either. Deeper within the woodwork of “Boyfriend” lies an age-old pattern of steadily magnifying the utilization of sexuality in the image of a young celebrity. Figures like Justin Timberlake, Miley and most notoriously Britney were once projected as pristine and virginlike before their content suddenly turned dirty. Let’s not forget that the singers of “Rock Your Body” and “I’m A Slave 4 U” once charmed us with “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy.”

The management of Bieber’s image does not remain exempt. A flash of Justin’s bicep in “Boyfriend”’s album artwork is enough to confirm the ploy in keeping the hoodie-wearing hoodrat relevant in the minds of thoughtless pre-teens. Plus, with a new wave of boy bands  (e.g., One Direction, Big Time Rush, The Wanted) crashing onto the scene, perhaps the Bieber camp needs to up their game to counteract the giant forces threatening his sainthood.

The bold new accompaniment that provides backing for Bieber’s new styling has already shaken tumblr fanblogs and media forums of the like, splattered with both supportive and condemning feedback for the unexpected change. It’s not clear whether the new sound will stick around, but what we know for sure is that if the rest of his new material flows as swimmingly as “Boyfriend” does, Justin Bieber is here to stay. (Sorry, folks.)