• tatum van dam

how NOT to get your song to #1: a guide by Justin Bieber



One week ago, Justin Bieber released his first song in what feels like ages titled “Yummy.” Although the song has a rather inviting title accompanied with an appealing millennial pink patchwork aesthetic, it’s not really that great of a tune. It’s just another trap-like beat with overbearing hi-hats and a repetitive monotonous hook with oh-so inspiring lyrics, “yeah you got that yummy yum, that yummy yum, that yummy yummy.” It lacks the three things that make a song a "good" song: creativity, originality, and musicality. In the words of the internet’s biggest music nerd, Anthony Fantano, I have nothing else to say aside from the fact that it is not good. It is very much not good.


Justin Bieber is a pop powerhouse. Slap his name on anything and it is guaranteed to blow up. He might not be cranking out music constantly, and that is likely due to the fact that he has built his career to the point where he can drop a single knowing that millions of people are going to listen to it, because he is Justin Bieber. In only seven days, "Yummy" has garnered nearly 38,000,000 streams (and that’s only counting Spotify). Apparently, enough streams to equate to the entire population of the country of Iraq (and possibly more) is not enough for him. He wants more streams, and he has made it very clear.


Yesterday, Bieber re-posted this (now deleted) carousel collage to his Instagram:

Despite the fact that this post reeks of a severe case of desperation, I find it troubling that Bieber is asking fans to give two of their most valuable resources, time and money, all for his personal monetary gain accompanied by a title he has already received countless times. When an artist puts out a record, it is completely normal and acceptable for them to ask their audience to stream it. What I find unacceptable is encouraging his audience to not only listen to the song even if they are not actually listening, but even more troubling, requesting them to playlist the song and buy it multiple times through iTunes and Bieber’s personal website.


It seems as if Bieber has forgotten the power his name holds. His name is one that is so large that he should not feel the need to ask anyone to stream his music. Chances are, there are at least tens of millions of people already doing so. If Bieber wants his new music to reach the top of the charts, he should start by creating a song that is actually worth streaming. Evidently, he has not done enough to earn him a number one record, and consequently, he (and his team) are now trying to mitigate the issue by forcing inorganic growth. What happened to creating music for the love of the art, and not for the love of a title?


He's Justin Bieber, for crying out loud. A teen-pop sensation who has since won 160 awards for his music and has achieved billions of streams on past records; after all of his accomplishments, he is hurt that his objectively 'not good' song is not topping the charts a week after its release? It is my hope that Bieber takes the criticism he has received on this track and reworks his music to come in the future (presumably, an upcoming album). He has created hits from years ago that still get radio play; he has it in him to create something great. There is a reason why he is a big deal. Surely, any artist is deserving of releasing a hit, but it just so happens that this one, in particular, ain’t it. Better luck next time, Biebs.

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