As a reviewer, it is your initiative... nay, your duty
, to go into albums with an open mind. Sometimes, this can be a daunting task- particularly CDs like this. Justin Bieber
seems to have skyrocketed to stardom in the last four months, becoming the new teen heartthrob for pre-pubescent girls everywhere. His single One Time
, for reasons that I can't explain, started this speedy climb to fame, with the music video reaching over 17 million hits on YouTube alone. Of course, any record executive with eyes can see that here is a prime specimen: faux-skater clothing? Check. Pearly white teeth that are just one step away from being unnatural? Check. Average voice that can easily be 'spruced up' using modern technology? Check. Plus, he already has a hit video on YouTube! And who else to pounce on him than... Usher? Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen- Usher was the one who is responsible for this. He is the reason that the manufactured beats and autotuned vocals of One Time
will be heard blaring out of every radio station for the next year. So, in short: it's all his fault.
With all the hype surrounding One Time
, the question remained: could he produce a good album? Some people definitely think so- Ashanate Infantry of the 'Toronto Star' gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, and said that: "With an album that delivers on his promise, the only thing we could ask is more." I am going to go on the record and say Anshante Infantry has no idea what he (she?) is talking about. This album is one of the most mediocre exercises in radio-friendly music that I've ever heard. From the endless onslaught of a pop singer's best friend, Autotune, to the continual reliance on boring, obviously pre-programmed drum beats, there isn't anything on here I want to hear more of for a long
time. It also doesn't help that the production company, Mad Mafia, forced Bieber to breathily recite the word 'Mafia' at the beginning of two tracks on the record. If that isn't the definition of 'selling out,' then I don't know what is.
Are there any good moments here? I won't lie, yes. The second track Favorite Girl
is actually fairly catchy, although it suffers from the same faults as the other songs; the writing is just stronger here. Unfortunately, that's really one of the only redeeming things about this disc. Down To Earth
features a lead guitar with an absolutely horrible tone, causing it to sound like it's halfway to becoming a synthesizer. The lyrics on here are also nearly identical across all the tracks- how many relationships can you possibly have had at fifteen years old? Although, to be fair, I can't really blame Beiber here- considering the only writing he did was on 'Down To Earth,' which he co-wrote. Even Usher's so-called 'guest appearance' on the album is incredibly brief, limited to the start and end of the painful First Dance
. The only thing I can say is that, thankfully, the album is very short at just over a half hour- including an iTunes bonus track and a French version of one of the previous songs on the record.
What more is there to say? This album will no doubt sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and I urge you not to add to that statistic. If you take some masochistic pleasure in listening to the same song eight times in a row, then by all means go ahead and blow 10 bucks on this. The rest of us, however, will sit back, pop something else into the CD player, and say: "Damn you, Usher."