I, myself, am a 25-year-old adult who is actually looking forward to Justin Bieber's new music. This will be the first time this has happened to me since his debut single was released on May 18, 2009. I am confident I am not the only one who was surprised to find that his new music is really, really great.
Due to a lack of interest, I easily skipped over the past six years of his career, at least musically. (Definitely musically). Headlines I caught, photos I saw, jokes I heard (and probably laughed at), articles about his antics and his crazy fan base I read. I'm not totally positive I can even name a JB single even though I trust I've heard a couple on the radio or by association. I'm not sure if any bars or parties I've been to have ever played anything from Bieber's catalog, but I can say, they definitely are now. And I'll say it again - I'm excited. I don't hate it. I am looking forward to it.
More and more, I see my friends, also born in the late 1980s or early 1990s, posting links to his music with captions like "No Shame" or "Don't Judge Me."
Why do we feel the need to even 'sorry not sorry' our excitement about Justin's new music?
It's perfectly fine to become a Justin Bieber fan now (or even then), if you're feeling self-conscious about it. His music is growing up, just like he and his audience has been. His music is not only undeniably good, but it's getting better and evolving with his artistry. As an artist, he no longer slightly annoys me.
My demographic completely skipped over the Belieber phase. We weren't 12 years old when his music first came out, we were 15 and 16. Even though I have 4 more years on the planet than JB does, those specific 4 years make a huge difference as a listener. Learning that people born in 1994 can legally drink grosses me out, the same way my older friends are usually surprised when I remind them I was born in 1990. Age is just a number, but sometimes it holds a cultural impact, at least as a fan and a listener.
It could even be as simple as age being related to boy band or pop singer fans in general. While I was rocking out to Hanson and N*Sync, those with 4 years on me were focused on Brand New, Jawbreaker and Fugazi - bands I didn't discover until I was at least 14. I love all three of those bands, but as a listener, I discovered them on a "late pass" basis due to my age and even my possibly age-appropriate tastes. We learn from those older and wiser than us, so it's interesting that now, as older listeners, we feel a need to apologize for actually liking a once-upon-a-tween popstar like Justin Bieber.
The first thing that changed my mind about writing off the inconceivably famous singer was the Justin Bieber Roast on Comedy Central. It aired at the end of March and I was in the Las Vegas airport with a 4-hour layover and no desire to sit at the slot machines. I watched the roast on my phone and re-upped my phone's battery just to be able to watch it again immediately following. The Roast received the third highest television ratings in the history of the guilty pleasure celebrity roasts hosted by Comedy Central. Justin won me over then. Not too much later, it got even better - not only did I find him to be funny and even cool for sitting through a such a roast like a champ - and even giving him a pass for being a cornball at the end of it - he released music that engaged my interest.
When Justin performed at the VMA's I even appreciated that he cried at the end. I have no idea if that could be considered "one of the biggest performances of his life" or anything, but a big difference for me was that, now, I believe him. Much like he explains in a new interview with Complex, he's relatable now. Justin, I feel you and I'd even go as far to say, I appreciate you.
Justin's first album in 3 years is set to release on November 13th, and features the likes of Skrillex, Diplo, Kanye West and Rick Rubin. The album's single "What Do You Mean" also awarded JB his first Billboard #1 hit and it was the 23rd song to debut at the top slot, the first song to do so since Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" last year.
I personally never would've thought that my favorite song at the moment would be a Justin Bieber song, but it is. I no longer feel a need to find reasons to justify it. The game is different now, and reading this amazingly well-presented and well-conducted interview with Complex is further proof of that.
JB, I look forward to what's next and I'm not going to apologize for it.
A new fan