I don't listen to Justin Bieber.
It's just always been a life rule ever since he first hit the viral music video scene in 2009 with "One Time." I've always just been rather amused with his random drama and meltdowns over the past couple years as he's been on a hiatus of sorts — or as I like to call it, a brief stint of TMZ residency.
However, he's slowly gaining my respect. The preteen heartthrob recently agreed to get roasted on Comedy Central, which showed me that the guy can actually be associated with something other than music made for little girls.
More recently, he was featured on a EDM collaboration where the song went from viral on Spotify to a Top 40 radio track. The song, "Where are U Now?" by Jack U, is a a collaboration of EDM superstars Skrillex and Diplo. And here's the thing — the song is actually awesome. It displays the dynamics of all the musicians involved. I've always been a fan of Diplo, but Skrillex and Biebs took some convincing. In the end, the elements the musicians contributed worked well together.
Recently, Diplo told Billboard that he thought that Bieber has a good vision and taste in music, but it's the pop star's fans that has stifled him. That makes sense. It's easy to move into a different direction, but hard to actually carry through with it when there's pressure from fans who push the musician to stick with the same material. Along with making a change comes the risk of losing money as well as dealing with criticism.
Granted, I've probably never made more than $50 from music I've made, but I'll put myself in Bieber's shoes. If my music made me famous, then one day I abandoned the genre that provided me with a fabulously rich lifestyle to do opera, fear would have some control over me.
And that's what really sucks about popular music as a whole. At any one point in time, we demand a specific genre, and musicians try to produce that style in order to be relevant. I never thought I would say this, but I actually feel sympathetic towards Bieber. His fame got huge from what producers, record labels and metrics told him to do. This predestined his style, without allowing for originality.
If Diplo is correct, it's starting to make sense why the pop star has been lashing out over the past few years. I'm sure that for any monumentally huge music artist, it gets frustrating to keep up with set demands.
Diplo also said to Billboard that he hopes Bieber continues to work on music he actually likes, namely EDM, and to work on more of his voice as an artist — not what the metrics have told him.
So for once, I am pulling a Chris Crocker and defending a pop star. I think Justin Bieber should make the music that he wants to make. If he does and it's actually good, who knows, I may be willing to even make a "Leave Bieber Alone" video.
Caleb Dennis: twitter.com/TheWriterCalebD