I’ve had the displeasure of listening to this stupid ass song on multiple occasions because I put it on my playlist.
There’s actually a formula behind the music played on corporate radio.
I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t having an inherent formula mean that said music is the opposite of art?
Yes! Maybe that’s why he’s called Dr. Luke and not Professor Luke.
Enter Justin Bieber from YouTube.
The thing that really irritates me about this song is that it’s told from the first person of someone who didn’t write it. You can tell, because why would this twink have a girlfriend?
In all seriousness it gets very meta:
“I didn’t want to write a song, cause I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care, I don’t.”
You didn’t write a song. Ed Sheeran and another guy wrote a song and then decided it wasn’t good enough to record themselves and drunkenly laughed about how fucked up it is that someone bought it.
We’re to assume all songwriting which incorporates storytelling is inherently fictional and often metaphorical. Clearly that Neil Young imposter didn’t really ride through the desert on a horse with no name, he would have named the horse.
Turn the page…
In Bob Dylan’s early work he was pretending to be a folksy hick even though he was a Jewish dude from Minnesota. Guys who sit on porches don’t write a ton of lyrics. You have to suspend your disbelief.
The collaborative supergroup Bad Company mostly wrote songs about being in the band Bad Company and we were alerted to the plight of making a shitload of money touring, yet to my knowledge no song has ever broken down the barrier to the point of referencing whether or not the writer of the song you’re listening to felt like writing it or not.
The brilliant movie Adaptation was about a screenwriter writing a movie, and especially in the nineties many rappers such as Talib Kwali and Nas rapped mostly about how good they were at rapping. This would be equivalent to stepping onto a basketball court and talking a lot of trash in a wheelchair.
Still, referencing your internal debate as to whether or not to write a song, in the lyrics of a song, seems to have broken down the last barrier between celebrity and art, and further, of the implicit understanding that the point of writing a song is to entertain an audience.
Sure Nirvana and Pearl Jam wore jeans and plaid shirts and went out of their way to act like their shitty garage band just blew up accidentally, but that was a pushback to the hair band and payola era.
Entertainers do a lot of preparation if they’re any good, which is why hipster comedians who memorize their act and pretend to work off a notebook are exceptionally offensive.
Love Yourself appears to be a push back to the act of songwriting. The lyrics aren’t presented as striving to entertain an audience, but for the means of the writer to achieve peace of mind and get back at some chick. It’s like how reality TV was a pushback to the act of making television. (The need to make good TV is diminished with less competition. Hence, mega conglomerate media mergers lead to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It’s cheap.)
It’s tough to separate the actual Justin Bieber from the character the writers are portraying. Clearly it’s not the real Justin Bieber, because Justin Bieber can’t write songs and the author of the song says he wrote it, yet the lyrics definitely seek to portray the actual Bieber in order to capitalize on his celebrity and I assume the audience is supposed to believe this is a meditation on his actual life.
You’ve been “so caught up in your job?” If we’re to suspend disbelief and assume Bieber actually wrote this song, isn’t writing the song you’re currently singing, as a songwriter, part of your fucking job?
Love Yourself is a first person constructed narrative of Bieber dwelling on writing a song.
So, like a reality show, but, a song.
Couldn’t remember the best song in the world, this is a tribute. That type of thing.
In the Selfie Era, the definition of success is attaining it without doing any actual work. Having wealthy parents is really the only way to accomplish this, I guess that’s the secret.
Let the old money die and keep making the sex tapes, you’re doing the country a service by ceasing the cycle of success and snorting away the inheritance, nobody’s role model should have herpes.
What could better exemplify the Selfie mentality than a songwriter (Sheeran), writing from the perspective of his less talented peer (Bieber), and disclosing in the lyrics that he actually isn’t sure if he wanted to write the fucking song that you’re listening to or not? Is Sheeran possibly taking a jab at Bieber or is he doing him a favor by allowing him to say that he actually wrote a song, knowing much of the audience assumes as much.
In closing, the song and its Casio sax solo and over produced three chord progression sucks donkey balls, so if you have to ask, yeah, you shouldn’t have written the song Ed and your butt buddy should stop posing.