by Roxane Hudon
I love Pop Culture. I grew up watching Entertainment Tonight, quoting episodes of Friends, reading about Devon Sawa and JTT in Tiger Beat and BOP and wanting to be an actress in the movies. I don’t exactly remember the first time I heard the Backstreet Boys, but I do remember the first time I saw them live. In 1996, I was 10-years old, and “BSB” played one of their first big shows in North America at the Festival des Montgolfières de St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. I was there, screaming and dancing and singing QUIT PLAYING GAMES. My favourite was the bad boy AJ and my big sister’s fave was B-ROK, the Christian with heart problems (don’t get me started about Howie DOROUGH, the alleged “latino”). They aired a special about the show on Musique Plus with the one and only Veronique Cloutier following them before the show. My sister and I recorded it on VHS and we would watch it over and over again, learning their answers by heart and even trying to imitate their dance moves.
After seeing this, I made my parents buy me a JOURNEY album, because Nick said it was his favourite. So yes, BSB made me listen to JOURNEY. I would also buy every magazine that would publish a story about BSB. Actually, I would buy two copies; I’d use one to cherish and keep as is and I’d cut out all the photos of the other one to stick on my walls.
CAN YOU BLAME ME LADIES?
But, why am I rambling on about my past boy band obsession? Recently, I had to go see Justin Bieber: NEVER SAY NEVER to write a blurb about it for the film listings of the MONTREAL MIRROR, the best paper in town, obviously. I listened to a Bieber song for the first time this past November, after a year of hearing a lot of huff and puff about a boy who kind of looked like a lesbian and made horrible music. Honestly, I think “Baby” is catchy as shit and I find myself waking up in the middle of the night having to sing the chorus out loud, before being able to go back to sleep in peace. Is it “good” music? Ben non, it’s mainstream pop music; it’s meant to be catchy and a bit silly. Is the boy actually talented? Meh, I don’t know, I don’t go that far into my analysis of a song with a chorus composed of one word (BABY BABY BABY).
When I review films, I have a different approach when I’m writing about a film that is actually claiming or trying to be intelligent than when I write about a cheesy Hollywood blockbuster that’s just meant to entertain. I’m not going to start discussing the cinematography of a film where neurotic Jennifer Aniston pretends to be having someone’s baby or something to win the affection of her married boss and then Ashton Kutcher shows up as her goofy friend and they start having sex, but then fall in love and decide to raise her non-existant child together (this makes no sense, but will probably be a movie in the future….titled something not clever at all like MAKING BABY.) Anyway, my point is that I really think that anyone over 15 that is wasting their time seriously criticizing Bieber is a little bit retarded. If you want to make the argument that it’s insulting that this kid is making millions of dollars while you’re working hard and starving, well I’m pretty sure there are way more undeserving, corporate folk out there making a whole lot of cash and exploiting people, while this kid is pretty much just singing about broken hearts and puppy love and flipping his hair back and forth. Personally, I want to steal some of that precious Bieber blood, inject it into my future child and BAM! RRSP fo LYFE!
We love to watch celebrities fuck up, but I just think there’s something really twisted and sick when it’s a 16-year old kid who is singing for 12-year old girls. Like that video of Miley Cyrus smoking salvia.
WHATTA FUCK! A TEENAGER DOING DRUGS AND GIGGLING?
The latest Bieber criticism revolves around his interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which the EDGY “journalist” Vanessa Grigoriadis asks him about rape and abortion. Maybe she got pissed off about being assigned to write about Bieber and was trying to make it kind of CONTROVERSIAL. Touché, loser! Guaranteed scandal: ask a little Christian boy who makes a lot of money about sex. And now, it’s all over the Internet and even the New York fuckin’ Times is weighing in on what JUSTIN BIEBER’s comments on abortion represent for a whole generation of girls who may be pregnant in the future. Umm, I think if they have good PARENTING and a good EDUCATION, we shouldn’t really be worried, but maybe I’m just talking CRAZY. I think my parents had a bigger impact on my opinions and critical thinking, than AJ from the Backstreet Boys, but hey, that’s just me, maybe I just come from an intellectually superior family (true dat).
As people point to Bieber as a pro-rape horrible human being , like this stupid article where a feminist basically builds Bieber up to be the ultimate symbol of the White Male Oppressor, no one seems to be questioning Grigoriadis for asking these stupid questions. Her defense was that he’s a 16-year old boy who is turning 17 and he has an important cultural impact on girls and he should be asked these questions. His cultural impact should extend to him looking pretty and making cheerful dance-friendly songs. I didn’t give a shit about the BACKSTREET BOYS’ political opinions when I was a kid, I just wanted to look at them in their underwear and learn a little bit about myself. YA KNOW.
Bieber is a kid from a Christian family from Small Town, Canada who was put on the spot by this woman who, by asking him about abortion, is putting some value in his answer. C’est dégeulasse. Just put the kid in his underwear and let him flash that little smile of his (my second motive for writing this is that Bieber has made me into a bit of a cougar, whatevs.). I think we have way more important things to criticize than some kid singing BABY BABY BABY BABY.
I remember when Musique Plus VJ Claude Rajotte was criticized for destroying a Backstreet Boys album on Cimetière des CDs. I didn’t really care, because he was just an angry old man and I, well, I adored the Backstreet Boys and really didn’t give a shit what he thought about the musical value of “I’LL NEVER BREAK YOUR HEART”, because I LOVED IT. Finding out later that most of the members of BSB were high and drunk most of the time didn’t matter to me either. If I hear “I Want It That Way” today, it’ll still make me smile, not because it’s great music, far from it, but simply because it reminds me of my childhood, of a simpler time when all I had to worry about was dancing in my basement and kissing posters on my wall. In a couple of years, “Baby” will be some other girl’s “I Want It That Way” and that girl will have formed her OWN opinion on abortion, politics, the world and so on and “Baby” will just remind her of that silly time she had braces and was yelling in the street for some boy with a cute smile and nice hair.