Image via WikipediaI knew the moment would eventually come.
"Mom...are you really listening to a Justin Bieber song?" my daughter is yelling down the stairs. I'm cringing to myself. "Yep."
One of my younger guitar students had asked for a Bieber song "for a friend" she said. I'll eventually get it out of her whether or not it really was for a friend, but in the meantime I find myself listening through the song and working out the sophomoric lyrics and chords. Not hard to do for a pop song these days. There are usually about 4 chords and one phrase repeated over and over, along with some other inane lyrics that little girls swoon to. I laugh at the occasional Facebook comments like "Dear God, please give back Bob Marley and we'll give you Justin Beiber". It's inevitable that anything or anyone popular will create rolling eyes and sarcastic sighs from a large segment of the population. But he's got a huge, bubblegum fan base and that's what counts to those marketers and record label execs.
The reason my eyes roll is this marketing madness that swirls around this kid. How is it that a boy (what is he, 12??) is already releasing an autobiography? What on earth could he possibly have to say? How many pages is it? Well, I guess you use more pages when you're writing in crayon. Oh, make me stop.
The latest gimmick I read about is a new line of nail polish. Justin Beiber nail polish. OMG. Yes, the kid can sing and he obviously has that "little girl magnet" quality. But nail polish? There have been a lot of jokes, internet pranks and falsehoods that have swirled around since Bieber's rise to fame, and you have to admit that the way he has been marketed, managed and merchandised since he was just a rising star on YouTube is nothing short of nuts. It's no wonder people like to make fun of him.
Okay, so I should confess something before I go any further. When I was 13 I developed a large crush on Donny Osmond. I read every Teen Beat magazine I could get my chubby hands on and put posters of him on my bedroom wall. I bought all his records and sang "Puppy Love" along with him at the top of my lungs, so I 'get' these little girls who have "Bieber Fever". Donny Osmond somehow survived the 80's when his career took a nose dive and then he managed to reinvent himself enough to go on to other things. Other teen idols don't do so well in between the healed acne and the grey hairs. Whatever happened to David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Leif Garrett and Debbie Gibson?
Well, Bobby Sherman, for instance, is 67 years old now. Yikes. And one day Justin Bieber, if he's lucky, will be 67 years old. That's 51 years from now. Yikes again. By then, that Beatle-esque mop of hair of his will mostly be gone except some around the outskirts. He'll occasionally see a glint of recognition in the eyes of the female semi-retired pharmacist at the local mall where he picks up his high blood pressure pills, but she won't quite be able to place him. The den at his rancher in the gated community where he lives will be filled with memorabilia, a leather couch and not much else. Grammy awards will gather dust beside framed photos of him with some strangely attired person named Lady GaGa, and oddly enough, there will be a bottle of nail polish sitting there that he can't quite remember the story behind. He will rarely leave his house, a habit he got into after all those years of having to hide out from the fans. There are no more calls from reporters, no photo sessions or concert dates anymore, except that Bar Mitzva that he promised his nephew he'd show up for.
Yeah, feeling better now. Baby, baby, baby, ooooh, baby, baby....
(Update: even the first Chilean miners that were successfully pulled from the mine were bombarded with offers by media and marketers before all of them had been safely rescued!!)