Our spam filter’s had things too easy lately…
Jordan Sargent: Justin Bieber has two good songs. Both were written by The-Dream. “U Smile” was written by a host of people, none of which are The-Dream. “U Smile” is like if someone stuck helium pumps inside your ears. And while I’m not a professional songwriter with multiple Grammys inside the glass case in my vast living room in my mansion, I would recommend that people not write songs for Justin Bieber that put his voice front and center. The bangs work just fine.
Chuck Eddy: Sings real purty — the new Joey McIntyre, at the very least. So what were the words about again?
Al Shipley: Rarely has it ever felt more like a young singer’s own songwriters are talking down to them as when Bieber is handed braindead hook lines like “baby baby baby oh / baby baby baby no!” or “you smile, I smile” and gleefully sells them like the Muppet he is.
Mark Sinker: In Lifelong Tiresome Contrarian news, in the mid-70s in my mid-teens I often wore a Donny Osmond badge to school. It was an all-boys school, if that makes a difference either way.
Anthony Easton: The least sexual of love songs, and there is something to the harmonies of boybands that spread the velveeta cheese over several peices of toast. Seems to be taken seriously by R&B singers that I take seriously, and so there is something going on here, and I wonder if there is some connection to Donny Osmond or Michael Jackson, but Osmond got weird towards the end of his reign, and Jackson was hella more of everything then this kid. Sort of thinking about it but nothing catches, and the piano is just over the top.
Alfred Soto: “I waited for you forever and a day”, Bieber announces seventy ponderous seconds of an introduction later. The aim is to create an “adventurous” sonic setting for Bieber’s chirp, but I’ve heard ringtones less evanescent.
Martin Skidmore: A ballad with relatively restrained production, which puts much of the weight on his performance. I’m sure he’d love it to be likened to Michael Jackson, but his thin, high voice isn’t at all in that class. He’s skilled enough, but I can hear no feelings in this at all, which is fatal.
John Seroff: I’m secure enough in my listening tastes that I can admit to kinda liking Bieber in small doses; his voice is pleasantly caramel. The kid’s major issue has been with song selection; most of My World is awash with saltine-spicy production. “U Smile” is an upswing of improvement into nearly teen territory, surely not as Motown as it’s trying to be but far less insipid than “Baby” and “Eenie Meenie”. “Smile” marks Bieber’s entry into Grease/Billy Joel territory; out of Ozzie and Harriet and sniffing at Matthew and Gunnar’s trail. Bonus: at 1/8 speed, it sounds better than Mogwai.
Katherine St Asaph: Slow it back down.
Michaelangelo Matos: At first I thought this was here because the label had reissued it to cash in on the 800% slower thing, and I thought, “That’s insane!” It was like the tail wagging the cat. Then I dug around and realized the song had been announced as the new single in early August, a couple weeks before Shamantis worked his preset magic upon it. So now I wonder if the slowdown wasn’t a publicity stunt, just like some others have suggested. Either way, this first charted in March (entering at #27), so even if you were a savvy bizzer who knew this was the focus track, the SoundCloud thing has basically taken over the track’s life for a lot of people. Either way, this sounds like an android.