ITunes and the Internet have been recently abuzz with the release of Justin Bieber’s new single “Boyfriend,” a teaser to his upcoming album Believe. Not only is the single poised to shatter Bieber’s previous weekly download sales record (by more than double), but the song has already generated significant radio airplay which is certain to land him a respectable debut on the Billboard Hot 100.
Bieber, like so many teen heartthrobs and bubblegum pop icons before him, is an artist many people love to hate. (He’s not my thing either, but frankly, I don’t get the haters. When did baby-face cuteness become so detestable?) Also, surprisingly, despite Bieber’s incredible popularity and proven ability to sell records, he’s found chart success to be fairly elusive. Top 40 radio has handled him with kid gloves over the years; they play his songs, but not too much.
“Boyfriend” is set to turn all that on its proverbial ear. If trends continue, this song could easily break the Top 10, translating to Bieber’s first-ever radio chart smash. It could also smash through some of his boyish image. “Boyfriend” is still a song to woo the girls, but it’s a more mature side of Bieber (now 18). I dunno—it just sounds more grown-up. Think a bit less teenage-Donny-Osmond, and a bit more Justin Timberlake.
If the rest of the album is like this single, it’s probably a really good direction for Bieber as an artist. He’s growing up in real life, and the teenage heartthrob thing won’t carry him for much longer. If he’s going to have longevity as a serious artist, there has to be a transition to a more adult image and sound—and it seems like “Boyfriend” may signal the beginning of that shift.
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Posted in: Pop Music