Like Reading Festival or a Middle East territory occupied by neo imperialist forces, the internet is split into several different camps. One has a vehement love for Justin Bieber, threatening to blend their pet kitten into small chunks of tabby-cat tikka unless he follows them back. The other has a vehement hate toward him, polluting YouTube with comments that liken the mere existence of a harmless 19 year-old to the genocide committed by the Third Reich. And then, IDK, I guess there’s everyone else who will mindlessly share whatever video Upworthy have told them Will Really Change Your Life.
If you ask the people who fall into Team Everything-But-Bieber why they hate the Prince of Swagu, they’ll tell you that he’s single-handedly responsible for ruining music while maintaining a single reference point for his long-parodied breakout 2010 single “Baby”. This is sort of like someone claiming that they hate Radiohead because Pablo Honey was a shitty grunge rip-off, or that they never talk to strangers because that’s what their mum told them when they were five.
But out here in people-can-change land, it’s impossible to ignore that Bieber’s output since “Baby” has been hugely impressive. Each week, for the last ten, Justin Bieber has gifted the world with an inventive, future-facing new song as part of his Music Monday project (it’s sort of like a gift to his fans only his fans have to pay him for the gift).
This week he released an R&B tinged collaboration with chain-smoker Chance The Rapper that sounds like everything Justin Timberlake wishes he was still making.