Do Justin Bieber’s lyrics herald born-again purity?

After years of Gangsta Rap and other contemporary musical forms shouting out lyrics that do everything from narrating sex orgies to euphemizing shootings, stabbings and other unsavoury elements of today’s youth culture, I’m fascinated by the rip-roaring success of squeaky-clean Justin Bieber’s songs and lyrics.

This teenie lad from Stratford, Ontario – home of North America’s largest Shakespeare festival as well as being just up the road from where I was born and raised – has flashed his perfect teeth and grinned his way into the hearts of millions of tweenie and teen girls since he first was “discovered” by American talent manager Scooter Braun in 2008.

So he’s cute and can sing. But what does he say?

I’ve been looking at the lyrics of some of his most popular tracks and have to say I’m impressed, albeit with some reservations. Justin and his advisors obviously grasp his market and want to appeal to those impressionable adolescent girls who drool at the mere thought of young Justin and the effect he has on them. And this is where I have slightly mixed feelings about the messages he’s sending out. (NB: nothing to do with the current flurry of publicity about his alleged accidental fathering of a baby, either.)

Oh, yes – his lyrics are just suggestive enough to titivate a pubescent girl’s emerging sexual characteristics without causing a hormonal explosion, and that is understandably appropriate when you put yourself in the shoes of Justin and his colleagues in the music business. For example, from his song “Mistletoe,” in which he champions the Christmas holiday but with an agenda. Also please note the “I’mma…” an abbreviation of “I’m going to” which though a little “Gangsta” does help to sort out the meter of the line

I don’t want to miss out on the holiday

But I can’t stop staring at your face

I should be playing in the winter snow

But I’mma be under the mistletoe…

…Kiss me underneath the mistletoe

(Show me baby that you love me so)

And what’s this purity issue?

I’ve been looking through a lot of Justin Bieber’s lyrics and have been very intrigued by their way of encouraging young people (and let’s face it, 99 percent of them are young girls) to embrace traditional Christian values. For example:

Hey love

The wise men follow the star

They way I followed my heart

And it led me to a miracle

I’m also intrigued by his interest in and enthusiasm for fighting for the underdog, which is another trait admired by the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) community and expressed through these lyrics in the song “Never Say Never”:

I will never say never (I will fight)

I will fight till forever (make it right)

Whenever you knock me down

I will not stay on the ground

Pick it up, pick it up (etc.)

Now – what about “political correctness?”

This is where I wonder where Justin Bieber and his advisors are coming from. Much as I agree that Justin’s lyrics are pitched right where the thousands of WASP weenies are concerned, I wonder if the message he’s sending out with those lyrics is what we (as the parental generation) want our kids / daughters to move forward with?

Is it right to focus these very young WASP girls’ attention, through Justin’s music, on these relatively innocent and pure adolescent thoughts when the reality out there is so, so different? Could songs with lyrics that address the real issues within that age group perform a more socially helpful function than those of Justin Bieber?

I’m being honest here: I really don’t know the right answer to that question and I suspect many of you readers won’t know it either. However please comment, as I think the ultimate answers will be useful for our kids’ generation. (And might even be of interest to Justin and his “people,” too.)

Purely valuable writing help:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English




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  3. […] on to the Christmas offerings of Status Quo … and skipping on even further to weenies like Justin Bieber … they all cash in on the wistful Christmas […]