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Sunday, May 26, 2024
The Observer

Justin Bieber's 'My World 2.0' needs a little retooling

Bieber mania has hit an all time high with the debut of the 16-year-old's first full album "My World 2.0," released last Tuesday.

Justin Bieber's fame developed based on a seven-song EP entitled "My World" which features his hit song "One Time." The teenager was discovered on YouTube and subsequently fought over by Usher and Justin Timberlake. Usher won and the Canadian-born Bieber blew up in the United States.

Some have affectionately called him "The Singing Fetus." After all, he is only 16 (and looks even younger) but has a great voice and style. Surprisingly, he isn't a spawn of the Disney empire. He excels at providing a great male counterpart to Taylor Swift in the teen pop realm — both play an instrument and co-write their songs.

"My World 2.0" is a formative album that shows Bieber's growth as a young artist. The bottom line, however, is that the album is definitely teen pop music, so listeners must enter with caution.

The best track off of the album is easily its first single and hit "Baby," featuring Ludacris. The duo The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who were behind Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies," created the song. It has an old school charm layered with hip-hop and pop sounds. Ludacris brilliantly harkens back to the feeling of first love in his rap with the likes of: "There was nobody compared to my baby / And nobody came between us, no one could ever come above / She had me going crazy, oh I was star-struck."

The track is fun and fast, and a great tune to jam to in the car.

Another great upbeat song on the disc is "Runaway Love," a mid-tempo tune reminiscent of Michael Jackson. There are stop-and-go keyboards giving Bieber room to strut his stuff and the overall sound of the song is funky and modern with Bieber's catchy vocals.

Bieber can also please with a ballad, as in the heartfelt "That Should Be Me." The song illustrates the pain of teenage heartbreak as he belts out: "That should be me / Holdin' your hand / That should be me / Makin' you laugh / That should be me / This is so sad." While Bieber may not be old enough to have experienced so much love and heartbreak, he sure sells it.

"Somebody to Love" has certain redeemable qualities in that it has a cool dance beat, almost disco in nature. But it is too electronic, overshadowing his voice and the well-done melodies. The kid can sing, so there is no reason to hide it.

Other songs on the album do not work well at all. "Stuck in the Moment" is simply cheesy with its allusions to famous couples. And "U Smile" has a soul sound, but otherwise is not noteworthy.

The album also has two too many collaborations. In addition to featuring Ludacris, "My World 2.0" also features Sean Kingston on "Eenie Meenie." This song had the potential to be great. While its premise of a childhood song is ridiculously goofy, it could be really fun. Unfortunately, Kingston steals the show by hogging the mic and turning the song into one that could be one of his own.

The other duo is with newcomer Jessica Jarrell on "Overboard." However, due to Bieber's androgynous voice, collaborating with a teenage girl is totally unnecessary. In fact, at times it is hard to tell the two apart. Bieber should wait until after puberty for his next work with a female singer.

Beneath that head of hair Bieber has real talent. He can play several instruments including the guitar, drums, trumpet and piano. He also co-wrote all of the songs on the new album. He has potential that will hopefully be fully explored in future albums.

What ultimately redeems this work is that Bieber has style. His personality shines through on even the weakest of tracks and salvages many cheesy lyrics. If you're looking for a good pop album, look no further. Bieber tries to include R&B and dance beats, but in the end the album is pop gold due to Bieber's signature swagger.