Last week Canada elected a brand new Prime Minister – Justin Trudeau – and he’s about as hunky a looking dude as that country has had for a leader since possibly a young pre-PM Sir Wilfred Laurier.
So in celebration of this very uncharacteristic political success in handsomeness for a drab socialist country, this week’s pop music This or That takes a look at two of Canada’s hottest exports: Drake and Justin Bieber.
Bieber and Drake won’t be confused with their American musical counterparts any more than Justin Trudeau would be mistaken for Donald Trump. Friendly, harmless guys who you could imagine were platonic friends with lots of girls in high school, are comfortable in Roots sweats, love drinking hot chocolates with marshmallows and saying “Da-yumn” a lot when they think something is cool. But who exactly has got THIS?
Drake is such a mainstream star at this point that he survived a feud earlier this year with no-name rapper Meek Mill over accusations of Drake just being lame and having ghost writers for his lyrics. No one seemed to care, showing that being an authentic and traditional style rap lyricist is about as important to this generation of fans as bastardising jazz music was for hip-hop fans in the early 90s.
So the lesson to us all is that there is a point when you officially get aged-out. For me, it was probably closer to when Soulja Boy got popular, but Drake’s rise to Eminem/Jay-Z/Kanye territory has always been a head-scratcher to me as well.
That was of course before he started doing whatever the fuck it is he’s doing in that video for ‘Hotline Bling’!
His wacky wavy cha-cha bob and bop ticky-tacky flick flack is about as goofy looking as it is mind-blowingly cool.
Makes a white guy almost think he can get back out there on the dance floor!
Speaking of white guys, the whitest of them all, one Mr. Justin ‘Biebs’ Bieber has rocketed to the top of the charts once again with this whacked-out video for his hit ‘What Do You Mean’:
What kind of a half-assed story is going on here anyways? The best I can make of it is some kind of homage to the Sean Penn movie The Game where a hostage taking is really just a set-up for a fight with ninjas and some kind of rebellious party. On paper, those seems like pretty good ingredients for an awesome video, so how come it comes across so flat?
First off, this Bieber looks like a total phoney, I mean, I hate to jump on the band wagon because the song itself is not terrible, but the dude’s image is so entitled and douchey, winking into the camera and playing up his cuteness like a guy trying to win an election off the strength of his hair. The only time you can actually buy Bieber as genuine in this video is when he’s grinding on that chick, but when he’s fighting, trying to act tough, talk romantic, or look like a guy with friends at a party, it’s so awkward that you’d think they were teaching a robot how to be human in an 80s rom-com.
That whole second half skatepark party alone is so fake looking that it almost includes no actual skateboarding skill on display, I mean, the most complex move would be a basic ramp drop-in. And at one point Bieber looks like he just saw a fucking 720 as he high fives some faceless skateboarder who just rolls past him (and should be ashamed of himself). This is just a forced blow-off party with a bunch of good-looking hollow Hollywood extras that was most likely a compromise from the music execs for allowing whatever kind of dumb-ass story that was in the first half.
Extra points though for Bieber putting in a John Leguizamo cameo (even if the guy has got to be 3x older than everyone else in the video), and of course for “introducing” us to Xenia Deli (although, they flash her name credit on the screen so fast you’ll know her shiny cleavage more intimately than her name when you watch this clip) and then putting her in a lingerie for half of the video.
So, c’mon, who’s got this?
If you’re comparing videos, Bieber’s is definitely way more American: sex, violence, under-aged partying, fake beautiful people, celebrity cameos, flashy convoluted storytelling, cultural appropriation. Whereas Drake’s subtle and awkward dancing is the act of a humble Canadian just trying to get by with what feels right.
On the other hand, in the vein of new PM Justin Trudeau, Bieber is the much better looking guy compared to the homely-at-best Drake, and maybe this is the true wave of the future for Canada – revolutionary hair styles that flop and wave like mediators between warring factions, and unchanging wrinkle-free expressions that communicate neutrality and submission.
But I say that it’s really gotta come down to one simple move that Drake does near the end of his video that Beiber’s handlers could never dream up, and Trudeau would never be caught on tape doing, and that’s pretending to sleep on a big ass like a pillow. THIS:
So sorry Biebs, but this week you’re THAT loser!