My Love/Hate Relationship With Justin Bieber

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Is it just me, or is anybody else trapped in an internal war with themselves about Justin Bieber? Being that I was on the older end of the spectrum when the then sweet-faced teenage dream hit the scene, I never connected with him on a hormonal level. I only had eyes for one Justin—Mr. Justin Timberlake. Back then, JB was wholesome and adorable, but his music sounded to me like every other pop song monopolizing the airwaves. I was way too cool and/or old to partake. Then, a few years ago, I watched and shook my head along with everyone else as the singer’s personal drama and entitled tantrums played out over the entertainment headlines. But then a little ditty called “Love Yourself” hit the airwaves, and something changed in me. Suddenly, I found myself singing along, snapping my fingers and pondering the story in the lyrics—and my years of resentment toward the blonde Biebs started to lift. Had Justin matured? Or had I unknowingly lowered my musical standards? And now, even with the recent viral video of Justin seemingly mocking and making up lyrics to his popular collaboration hit “Despacito” (I guess remembering the Spanish verses is just too much to ask), I can’t help but to turn up the dial when the song comes on. This internal tug-of-war just continues to rage—I really don’t want to support such a careless musical artist, but his music of late always seems to result in stress-relieving solo dance parties that are oh-so-good for the soul.

And it appears I’m not alone in indulging my Bieber-centric guilty pleasure. Recently, I was driving with my windows down and the radio on. I was stopped at a red light when the song “I’m the One” came on (the newest Bieber mash-up that has, admittedly, bewitched me, body and soul). Without even thinking, I began nodding my head and mouthing the lyrics in sheer joy waiting for the light to change. At that moment, I glanced over and noticed that a middle-aged man was watching me through his opened window. A heat wave of embarrassment took over my body, and I began to cringe at myself. I committed the cardinal sin of eye contact and was shocked to find that he was smiling and bopping his head with the beat, too! With my newfound sense of approval, I turned up the song and continued my lip-synch performance. Just then, the light turned green and before we drove off, we glanced at each other a final time. The older gentleman smiled and gave me a knowing nod, and I knew our secret was mutually understood.

As shameful as it is to say, Justin Bieber has pumped out some infectious tunes over the last couple of years, and it feels good to know that I’m not the only one who thinks so. I think it’s time we all admit to it and lose the shame. While I continue to roll my eyes at his antics and behavior, I also continue to roll up on that dance floor when one of his songs is on. And that dance floor is crowded.