Music Monday: Never Say Never

So when people find out that I am an adult lady who enjoys tween and teen pop, I’m often asked, “Well, what do you think about Justin Bieber?” Thank you for asking that question, even if I didn’t appreciate your tone!

Peace, Biebs

I resisted the Bieber for a long time. He was just too… too silly. Too young. Too shiny. Sure, I like pop music, but Justin Bieber? I draw the line there, thank you very much.

Then, summer of 2010, I found myself working at Girl Scout camp. We started the day off with a “morning radio show” where we gave announcements and played some music to start the day while they ate breakfast. I was the DJ, and my number one request was Justin Bieber.

“No, sorry, I don’t have that song. How about… Hannah Montana?”

(Dramatic sigh)

It was clear that I would have to get my hands on some Bieber. For the children. So I downloaded “Baby” and burned it to CD. It very quickly grew on me and most of the other counselors. Our favorite part, though, was Ludacris’s rap in the middle. We all tried our best to learn this rap, but we’re white Girl Scouts and it did not go too well for us. From memory, here is how Ludacris’s rap goes:

When I was 13

I had my first love

There was nobody who could compare to my baby

…. sent from above?

She had me going crazy

Yeah, I was starstruck

She woke me up daily

Don’t need no Starbucks

I see her at school and on the playground

But I really wanna see her on the weekend

I’m pretty sure I missed a few lines. But still, can we just talk about how hilarious it is that Ludacris is rapping about seeing his 13-year-old love on the playground? So good, right?

Completely ludicrous

Anyway, so that summer, Justin Bieber (and his rapper pals) grew on me to the extent that when his movie Never Say Never came out, I went to see it with my friend Anna. We kind of were expecting to watch it and laugh at it. But the joke was on us, because we both cried at it. It was honestly, truly, a very good and moving film. Interspersed with some great pop music. I swear. Bieber is actually a super talented kid, arguably more talented than most of his singles display.

Check out U Smile, featuring Boyz II Men:

It’s so pretty! I swear.

But probably my favorite part of the Never Say Never movie was his performance of the song Never Say Never, featuring a rap by Jaden Smith, who is like, seven years old or something. (Okay, I just checked: he’s 13, so would have been 11 or 12 in the movie.)

No pun intended, was raised by the power of Will
Like Luke with the Force, when push comes to shove
Like Kobe in the 4th, ice water for blood
I gotta be the best, and yes
We’re the flyest
Like David and Goliath
I conquered the giant
So now I got the world in my hand
I was born from two stars
So the moon’s where I land

Oh Jaden, I see what you did there! Get it? Raised by the power of Will? Amazing. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, too–Jaden is basically rapping about how he can do whatever he wants because his parents are both celebrities. Justin, meanwhile, has a legitimately rags-to-riches story. He’s the son of a low-income teenage single mom. But she NEVER SAID NEVER and now look at him, outshining Will Smith’s son. Well played.

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