Yeah, I think Justin Bieber really does likes Metallica

Re: “Does Justin Bieber Really Like Metallica?” (The 405)

Today, I listened to the new Japandroids album, Celebration Rock, Clams Casino’s second mixtape of hip-hop instrumentals, The Housemartins’ London 0 Hull 4 and Wilco’s Being There. I’m not asking you to applaud me for (sort of) eclectic taste. Because, everyone does!

It’s not inconceivable that Justin Bieber should be a fan of Metallica. Apparently the Canadian teeny-bopper claimed as much during an interview with GQ and now insecure Metallica fans (insecure might be a redundant qualifier) are raging about it across the world wide web. Do people still take Metallica seriously, and want to defend them (from what? Being talked about in mainstream media? People have heard of Metallica by this point) in this post-Some Kind of Monster, post-suing-their-own-fans world?

The backlash, to a degree, is to be expected. Pop stars like Bieber get people up in arms whatever they do, although the people who get up in arms are never the target market for such pop stars’ product, so really, I don’t know what they’re getting pissy about. I mean, I don’t get annoyed when I see adverts for cat food.

Euan Wallace’s piece for the 405 is actually pretty funny, and I can sympathise with his cynical attitude towards (Bieber’s part of) the music industry. Euan’s piece is based around theory that JB’s newfound love of Lars Ulrich and chums is either “a ludicrous attempt to beef up [his] image” or, “a pisspoor attempt at winning over metal fans”, presumably cooked up by the Bieber Marketing Division trying to ease the star into a new phase of his career.

Myself, on the other hand: I am a big believer in Ocam’s Razor. The simplest explanation of something is usually correct. Maybe Justin Bieber said he likes Metallica because he really does like Metallica.

That’s not too crazy a thing to suggest, right? The main reason I call bullshit on Euan calling bullshit is back where we started. What rule is there that states that, because someone makes pop music, they can therefore not enjoy any other genre of music, being as it is such a vast and varied spectrum of sounds? What difference does it make if he expresses an interest in “early Metallica…Metallica at their most metal” rather than Metallica “wearing cowboy hats, strumming acoustics and singing about kittens and tissues”? Would one be better, or more “believable” (beliebable?) (sorry) than the other?

In the media spotlight or not, Bieber’s still a teenage boy. And teenage boys don’t tend to listen to the sort of music Bieber makes. They listen to the sort of shitty, angry metal Metallica make. They listen to it and they stomp their feet and they shout along to the lyrics about life being unfair and painful because life is unfair and painful (especially through that magnifying glass of adolescence).

You think because he’s been coached since he was sixteen to be nice in interviews that Justin never gets fucking sick of singing “Boyfriend” time and again and just wants to howl along with “One” every once in a while?

I might be in the minority with these opinions, because I seem to be in the minority that thinks demonising and laying into a guy who just turned eighteen just because he’s popular is kind of totally messed up. Besides the age thing, he’s still a person! He’s no doubt got far from a normal life, but he’s still just a person. And people have eclectic tastes. And people are not defined by what they do.

We don’t call bullshit when we see bus drivers going home in their sedans, we don’t call bullshit when doctors play golf on the weekends, we shouldn’t call bullshit on Justin Bieber liking Metallica.

Maybe I’m just naive, and totally buying into a PR man’s carefully choreographed strategy for pushing Bieber into the “manly adult man” stage of his pop lifecycle. Maybe it’s small minded to think that Justin Bieber likes a whole bunch of music and that he is just another human being. It’s not really any less naive or small minded, though, than thinking because a pop star likes an aging metal band you like, it means they’ve be tainted and ruined forever. Or that the popstar is lying.

I have to say, I like the positive note Euan ends on, also:

Of course, as one horrified commenter on the Kerrang! website points out, this will no doubt lead to legions of Bieber fanatics watching Metallica videos on Youtube and commenting that James Hetfields beard is “scary” and the like. Still, that can only be a good thing. Why shouldn’t we share the music we love with new audiences?

And if you share someone’s taste in something, they can’t be all bad, right?

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