Comeback King

25 February 2016

I stand up and feel queasy, the sweat sticking to the back of my shirt. My heart is trembling and I find myself saying the words I’ve thought about for so long, but could never escape my mouth.

“My name is Peter and I’m a Belieber.”

There is a round of applause, a few nervous coughs and the faint pulse of ‘What Do You Mean’ – some fucked­up hair of the dog method of therapy – playing in the background. I take a seat and breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, I have exposed my sins to the world. The process of healing has begun.

This is how I imagine the world’s first Beliebers Anonymous session would go. Unless someone has already gotten a head start, in that case I personally apologise for the pain that you’ve experienced, and I hope that you find peace in your attempts at leading a JB-­free lifestyle.

The Biebs’ comeback came as a surprise, what with the vandalism, drugs and general prepubescent tomfoolery seen from the teen sensation in the last few years.

To me, a newly successful Justin Bieber is like a freshly toupéed Donald Trump – fun to laugh at, but terrifyingly powerful. His reach has defied all age and gender boundaries – even the Straight White Male can now acceptably find comfort in the tunes of J­Biebs. There must be something about the coupling of bleached blonde hair and poorly veiled sexism…

Alas, the initial perception of JB as ecstasy for pre­teen girls has certainly matured. The certified, Tom Haverford approved bangers ‘Sorry’ and ‘What Do You Mean?’ have dominated radio charts, and the Ed Sheeran­ written ‘Love Yourself’ has become my dad’s favourite jam (trust me, that’s saying something – he still listens to ABBA). Bieber’s new album Purpose, although marred by the token humanitarian inspired ‘Children’, is catchy and well produced.

It seems the teen heartthrob’s musical break gave him some much needed insight.

Whether you and I like it or not, Justin Bieber is still a pervasive part of our culture. He’s no Jeff Buckley, but your middle-­aged neighbours love him and it’s still his song you don’t skip on your morning run.

He is inescapable, omnipotent to the point that I am constantly trying to find ways to dodge the vaguely symbolic and Illuminati­ inspired album cover. Take it from me, listening to the Star Wars soundtrack on repeat does not help. You could say that ‘The Feeling’ for JB is unavoidable.

Revealing holiday snaps, rumours of Kardashian escapades and an extremely uncomfortable father­son tweet have also reminded us of the ways in which the Biebs has grown up. He has become the sleazy, tantrum­ throwing brat that we all knew he’d grow up to be. Yet this stain on our musical sheets will remain. Twenty years in the future, ‘Mark My Words’ will play on Gold 104.3 and we will jam as our children and bionic pets reel in disgust. His comeback, despite his shittiness as a human being, has been profoundly and confusingly successful.

Missy Elliot, Adidas Superstars, moustaches, Adele, the brilliantly dubbed ‘Mcconnaissance’ – none have been able to alter the public’s perception like the Comeback King has. As a teen, there were two things I vowed to never support: Justin Bieber and flared jeans. At this rate, it seems that I’m headed for a disastrously dressed 2016.

To all those confused by this longing for the Biebs, I provide you with a warning: stay away from Canada, Selena Gomez and snapbacks. It is only in this way that you’ll be safe. It’s too late for me. I’ve already written this… is it too late now to say sorry?

Try to escape the phenomenon that is Justin Bieber and refrain from slipping his lyrics into everyday conversation, both feats that I have yet to achieve.

Sincerely, I hope you find a more deserving purpose than Purpose in the start of this cultural calendar year.

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