For many university students today, we grew up listening to Justin Bieber. From those famous steps in the small town of Stratford, Ontario to world-wide fame, Bieber has the perfect underdog story that led to fans swooning over his catchy tunes and adorable (and not so adorable in recent years) fashion and look.
Bieber was thrust into the spotlight from his early teen years and now after over a decade in the spotlight, one would expect him to be at the pinnacle of his career. In fairness, he has had some bops in his later years, like the Purpose album that won the American Music Award for Favourite Pop/Rock Album and was nominated for a Grammy. Music-wise, Bieber is a huge hit and his reputation remains godly, despite a few controversies. Egging your neighbour’s house or hitting paparazzi with your car, as the most famous pop artist in the world, were probably unwise choices, yet somehow these instances positively contributed to Bieber’s new bad-boy persona. His path to stardom is a journey we all know well, which leads us to his latest release “Yummy”.
This is possibly the most surface level song on the charts and, needless to say, considering current pop music, the competition is stiff.
Firstly, Bieber starts the song with the chorus. There is no lead-up, no intro, no bass-drop. Five seconds into the song Bieber jumps right in which sounds very abrasive and rushed. If the chorus was a knock-out lyrical powerhouse with a danceable beat this possibly could’ve worked in Bieber’s favour. However, the chorus we are faced with begins with “Yeah, you got that yummy-yum/ That yummy-yum, that yummy-yummy/ Yeah, you got that yummy-yum/ That yummy-yum, that yummy-yummy.” One thing this opening chorus did was set the tone for the rest of the song; it was going to be horrible.
Don’t get me wrong, I know repetition is a valuable characteristic of choruses, especially in the pop genre. Repetition makes songs catchy and is often a tactic of guerilla marketing; the more likely people are to caption an Instagram picture with song lyrics, the more likely their followers are to look up the song. But when the word “yummy” is the repetitive aspect of the chorus, I can only wish repetition in pop music was never invented. Listening to this horrible chorus throughout the song was truly cringe-worthy and nearly unbearable. When 16-year-old Bieber was serenading the Bielibers with “And I was like baby, baby, baby oh/ Like baby, baby, baby no/ Like baby, baby, baby oh/ I thought you’d always be mine,” the repetition was endearing and became undeniably iconic. However, as a 25-year-old, “yummy” comes across as very elementary.
As much as the clear enunciation of a grown man saying “yummy” was hard to listen to, it is better than the rest of the song, which Bieber mumbles. Mumbling is fitting in some genres, namely the most popular: mumble-rap. However, pop artists stumbling over meaningless lyrics make for an unfinished thought and unpolished sound. The lyrics that can be deciphered are not worth listening to, “Light a match, get litty, babe/ That jet set, watch the sunset kinda, yeah, yeah” is a prime example of how Bieber managed to string together random words and somehow still make it onto the charts. Was Bieber ever a lyrical genius? Not particularly, but there was a certain memorability to his older lyrics that made his songs chart-toppers and generational favourites.
The song was not worth making a video for, but alas Bieber decided to add fuel to the fire with a truly embarrassing music video. Bieber is featured at a table in an alternative, possibly futuristic, restaurant. I saw this as pretty standard; “yummy” would imply Bieber eating something that tastes good. However, the plate in front of Bieber is white bread stacked up with olives and a slice of cheese. This seems to completely neglect the definition of “yummy”. I am not saying he needed a five-course meal in the video, but I am saying most listeners hold the (correct) opinion that olives are disgusting and one slice of cheese on top of the bread is pointless.
The entire music video Bieber is goofing around and looking almost sarcastically at the camera. He gives the impression that the song and music video are for comedic purposes and I hope for his sake he is going to a big reveal that his song was released as part of a practical joke.
All in all, this song is not at all worth the listen. This song sounds cheap and unpolished and, when paired with a forgettable music video, Bieber truly flopped with this release. Hopefully, Bieber either declares this song a joke or releases a redeeming song as soon as possible.