I think Justin Bieber’s run is just about over. Think about all the superstar, massive boy acts who rocketed to stardom in their mid-teens. The New Kids on the Block, N’Sync, 98 Degrees, all of that. How many of them lasted more than three years? None. The Jonas Brothers have already been replaced by Justin Bieber. Only one similar artist I can think of who managed to keep his music career going, and that’s Justin Timberlake. But he was also the only one with a modicum of talent. Soon, we’ll complain about the next Justin Bieber.
I think teenage girl stars are different. There have been tons of them – Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, etc – who have gone on to have successful careers long after their first run of fame. It’s easier for them, though, because all they have to do is shed that virginal, sweet-kid image and become slutty pin-up chicks. Miley Cyrus is already on her way. Not like it makes their music any better though. But at least they become worthy of the Doc and Woody Fun Page. So they’re good for something.
I think Susan Boyle represents all that is wrong with music. See, she isn’t good-looking, and people still buy her records! Aren’t we all so very unshallow? No. People buy her records to ease their guilt complex built up over time, so they can place her CD next to their XTina CD and their Mariah Carey CD and their Carrie Underwood CD and feel better about themselves. She’s a decent singer of other peoples’ songs, but Aretha Franklin or Joni Mitchell or Janis Joplin she is not. And yeah, you feel better about yourself, but you’re still just buying an American Idol record.
I think the new wave of ”supergroups” a cool thing, but they’re fleeting. Too many other commitments, too many members leaving too soon. Chickenfoot was great, Them Crooked Vultures even better. The new CD I’m listening to right now is Black Country Communion (Glenn Hughes who sang with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath briefly, guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa, veteran keyboardist Derek Sherinian who has played with everybody, and Jason Bonham). I love the CD, but it will most likely be their only one, as Bonham does that Led Zeppelin Experience touring show and the rest of the guys have solo careers.
I think old people who make the blanket statement that “all rap music sucks” are disingenuous. Most of them make the statement because they think they know music. And they think they know music because they have their music to which they are devoted, and they know a lot about that stuff. Which means they likely remember being young, and having old people at that time say the same thing about their music. I agree, lots of rap music does, indeed, suck. But look a little deeper for the good stuff, like you did with Led Zeppelin in 1973, and you will find it. You may still not want to listen to The Coup, or Dead Prez, but you might acknowledge that it is good.
And finally, I think your music taste does not define you, and you should never think it does. I recently pulled up to a store with my teenage stepson. He’s at that age where image and keeping a low profile are the most important things in life. As we pulled into the parking lot, he kept hitting the skip button on my CD. The Kinks – no, skip. Desmond Dekker – no, skip. Wu-Tang Clan, Merle Haggard, the Who - no, skip. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he just wanted to find a cool song. Like, what if he got out of the car, and someone he had never met before saw him and heard the tail end of Springsteen’s “The Wrestler”? How uncool would he look THEN? I paused for a moment to take this in, then blasted “Greatest American Hero” with the windows rolled down as we pulled into the video store. Lesson learned.