While on an excursion through Dublin the other day, a mate happened across a Justin Bieber album. He looked at the back. "It only has seven songs!" he said. No really - seven songs. I've just come from the wonderful mass-collaboration site Wikipedia; the album is less than twenty six minutes long. Seven songs. Seven. This was Bieber's début album.
Now let's look at another album with seven songs. Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. Seven songs, forty six and a half minutes long. That's the average length of an album, I believe. I don't have many that go widely above or below that mark. So, Meat Loaf also has seven songs on his album. What's the difference?
Bieber doesn't do epic rock songs. That pretty much sums it up. Meat Loaf has these great big songs about love and sex and the lack of it. Bieber sings what Wikipedia classes as "teen pop". Bit of a rubbish definition, if you ask me. But it's rubbish for a reason. He's some strange little sensation in the States who's not known for being wonderfully weird and rather frightening like Meat Loaf; he's known as the guy who walks into glass doors and escalators and doesn't know what Germany is. I'm not making that up! He was on an Australian chat show and he didn't know the word "German".
Now, Bieber's songs are the average length for a song. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't know what they sound like because I refuse to subject myself to that, but let me make one thing clear - if you're only going to have seven songs - seven! - on your album, you'd want to make sure that they're a bit longer. That, or don't call it an album. It's an EP. His début album is an EP. His second album has ten songs (thank you Wikipedia) and is just shy of thirty eight minutes. It's also "teen pop". So probably a bit rubbish unless you're in love with Justin Bieber, or it's your job to pretend to like things enough to write a favourable review to make people 1. buy your magazine and then 2. buy the album, or 3. the other way around.
Something tells me that once Bieber grows up, though, and his fans grow up with him, he's going to try drop this "teen pop" thing. But, like Harry Potter is to Daniel Radcliffe, "teen pop" will be hard to forget for the general public. The walking into doors things and getting bottles thrown at his head at a concert are also going to be hard to forget, especially when there are several dozen videos of each incident on YouTube. Because the public is that cool.
Meat Loaf's career is obviously much bigger, too. And his market is wider and a lot more favourable. People like Meat Loaf. He has some very awesome songs. I mean, you don't have to like everything he's ever done, but he has some brilliant songs, and they're more than a little more mainstream than Bieber. He appeals to people young and old...er. He has songs people actually listen to. He has songs on compilation albums because they're that good. It's like Journey - not everyone likes them, but by damn they love Don't Stop Believin'! That's something the likes of Justin Bieber won't get in his current market. By lacking marketability to the wider public, he'll never get what Meat Loaf - epic rock legend - or Journey or a dozen others have: long standing careers and songs so memorable that people actually choose to listen to them years and years after their original release. It's over thirty years since Bat Out of Hell came out and it's still selling in shops. Justin Bieber... well, he sells to pre-teens and young teenage girls. Need I say more?
Meat Loaf pwns Bieber. The latter should understand that, right? I mean, he did start out online. He should understand when he's been pwned.