Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Justin Bieber – Yummy

Well, we thought about the Yummy, we said “Biebs, you’re fucking high…”


[Video]
[2.68]

Alex Clifton: Why are straight boys like this?
[2]

Leah Isobel: Justin Bieber’s greatest strength as a vocalist is – was – playing very dumb phrases extremely straight, investing them with almost overflowing, doe-eyed emotion. This quality could turn a one-word chorus into poetry, or he could U-turn into knowing comedy when the phrases and ideas got dumb enough. On “Yummy,” though, Bieber meets his match in a title phrase that’s too winkingly juvenile even for his reformed child-star tenor. More than that, he sounds tired, like he doesn’t even want to be playing this game anymore – his high notes have turned nasal and yelpy, his low register more empty air than resonance. I can imagine the Bieber of “Boyfriend” or “Beauty and a Beat” really feasting on this track, but 2020 Bieber needs more than vapid concepts to regurgitate on a semi-trendy beat. Those doe eyes have turned dead.
[2]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: This would be a generous [6] if it were 2013 and this was one of the lesser tracks on Journals. More than six years later, and “Yummy” just sounds like… nothing? People complained that Ciara singing “yummy” was a mistake, but Bieber does something infinitely worse: he makes it devoid of any and all feeling.
[3]

Ashley Bardhan: What can I say when Justin already said it all himself — “you got the yum, yum-yum”? This song sounds like it would be Noah Centineo’s ringtone. 
[1]

Thomas Inskeep: “Yeah, you got that yummy-yum” — is Bieber trying to sound like an idiot? Because guess what, he succeeds. The production’s generic pop-trap, and the lyrics are moronic beyond measure. About as yummy as food left in a dumpster at the height of summer for a week.
[1]

Brad Shoup: Yummy is a fine word, acceptable even: couples are (or usually are) goofy. Things like yummy tend to slip out. It’s the shiver he puts into the line “never runnin’ low on supplies” that truly haunts. Wild how a couple years ago, the vocal manipulation would be front and center. Now, the up- and down-pitched yummies are practically invisible. Maybe by 2021 they’ll be gone.
[3]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Justin Bieber choruses work best when framed around a question: “What do you mean?” “Is it too late now to say sorry?” “Can we still be friends?” “Can we keep each other company?” “Where are yoü now?” See, Justin has never been the sexiest or suavest pop star in the world, but these big, pontificating questions sound nice. Fill in the blank answer with whatever you want; Justin is just the handsome chauffeur taking you to your destination. It becomes a problem, then, when he’s asked to sell something more direct; he just sounds silly and unconvincing. “Yeah, you got that yummy-yum, that yummy-yum, that yummy-yummy” is already a weak chorus to begin with, something even a Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino or Drake would have difficulty pulling off. Here, we have Bieber: selling this positive statement with the enthusiasm of someone politely pretending to like something they don’t.  
[3]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The beat of “Yummy” sounds like a horny remix of the Wii Shop theme. It is by a wide margin the best part of the song.
[2]

Alfred Soto: As abstracted a signifier of post-adolescent yearning as Bryan Ferry is a holy spirit of divine melancholy, Justin Bieber could be Swae Lee or Arthur Lee. He chirps over this here trap beat because he can’t chew on it — where are the yums? I smiled only at the line about walking in house slippers.
[3]

Nortey Dowuona: The problem with Justin Bieber is that he’s not interesting enough to really write about, musically, gossipcally or at all. The smooth, loping bass with sweeping, swallago synths and dispassionate synth progressions or the dull, flat drums are too interesting for Bieber to dully fumble over while not being able to play around with his limited range in the slightest the way a Frank Ocean or a Dappy or even a YBN Cordae could. At least it’s short.
[5]

Ian Mathers: Every day Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping inches closer to being a documentary.
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: OK, but I can go listen to Usher’s “Lemme See,” Chromatics’ “Lady” and Ciara’s “Dance Like We’re Making Love” and get the same nocturnal streetlights-on-rain mood without also hearing Justin Bieber sing “yummy.”
[3]

Scott Mildenhall: Whether or not this is a song whose authors think is commercially astute, it is fantastically stupid in a way that seems too witless to have been so engineered. It was awkward enough when Harry Styles pressed the “belly” button, but to hang a whole song on the word “yummy” is both comical and, to extend the juvenilia further, icky. Though perhaps this is a path to follow. Bieber will already have fans who weren’t born before “One Time” (or were babies as of “Baby”), so why not go an eenie meenie bit further and make the video a toy unboxing? Children are the future!
[4]

Will Adams: Somehow less convincing and more juvenile/slightly creepy than when Bieber called his girl an “eenie meenie miney mo lover” ten years ago.
[3]

Oliver Maier: Justin Bieber spent his teens trying to sound grown-up, then spent his early 20s trying to sound like a teenager. Purpose‘s singles posited him as a golden-hearted hottie grappling with adolescent naivety, who hurts your feelings or doesn’t quite get it but is still trying, dangit. There was naturally a manipulative subtext to that cluelessness, but for whatever reason — maybe that tension is interesting, maybe the songs were just catchy — he remained compelling, and still felt out of our league. These days, I guess he’s content to sound like nothing whatsoever. “Yummy” surrenders a few too many brain cells both in composition (this doesn’t sound like a song anybody cared about writing) and execution (Justin Bieber sounds like the most tediously simpering man on the planet). There are shadows of good melodies here and there, if you’re feeling generous, but it is simply too half-formed, and so cutesy and content that it nukes Bieber’s sensuality altogether. I can’t decide whether to cringe or take a nap.
[3]

Will Rivitz: Three points to this as a conceptual exercise — I didn’t think it possible to sanitize “Hotline Bling” even more than the original. That’s all it gets. 
[3]

Kylo Nocom: Awful metaphors and unsexy sex talk as bait for detractors to publicly (and correctly) declare awful. It’s the same strategy as “Earth” and as the bizarre lead singles of other stars’ comebacks: get the fans liking it, and the haters furious at how stupid it is. What “Yummy” does have is plenty of melodic tricks, and a beat like this would’ve popped off in 2016. Yet giving this any credit feels like rewarding a transparent cash-in when he’s had far more attractive come-ons.
[4]

Kayla Beardslee: Obviously “Yummy” isn’t good. Obviously I was never personally going to like it. Obviously we as a collective are going to hate it. But what am I actually supposed to do with it? The Justin Bieber hate train has whirred back into full force — the video is 15% disliked, and articles (plus offhand internet comments) criticizing him, the rollout, and the music are already being pumped out. He took over four years to come back after Purpose, but has been dropping a steady stream of features in the interim: Bieber has simultaneously faded from the public eye as a solo artist and overexposed himself as an inconsistent, practically anonymous guest feature. There’s no hype for his return, except among diehard fans who would assemble no matter the timing or quality. It feels like being force fed. And yet, although “Yummy” is a joyless combination of beige and sleaze, I’m still hesitant to gleefully condemn it. As a song, sure, it’s unpleasant and Purpose-less and not what he needed to kick off a successful era. But, let’s be real, “Yummy” is such a nothing that trashing of the music can easily transfer onto Bieber himself, and so much of the hate is not (for lack of a better term) in good faith. If you’re going to criticize Bieber, call him out for things like idolizing Chris Brown and patronizing Hillsong (deciding whether the latter is actually bad is complicated, but it’s certainly been a topic of conversation around him). But how many people in a social media crowd are going to provide balanced criticisms of difficult topics like these? Bieber’s music has been marketed toward teen girls, he has a pretty voice that some might judge as feminine, he just dyed his hair pink, he’s making trendy pop and chasing traditional masculine and commercial markers of success: these are all fodder for cheap shots and knee-jerk hate across a variety of communities. I’ve seen people (a friend, a relative) react to mentions of Justin Bieber with mild disgust — literally just his name is a repellent. Of course, Bieber carries himself with a cocky attitude that’s easy to hate (probably what happens when you’re forced into the ridiculous freedom and unique restrictions of celebrity when you’re a naive teenager). Of course, he’s built a reputation for acting like a terrible person many times in the past. Of course, Bieber is a straight white man who has a layer of security against harassment that artists like, for example, Lizzo don’t have. And yet I constantly remember that Bieber has spoken out about battling depression, and I feel uncomfortable joining the pile-on. And really, what is there to enjoy about trashing him or “Yummy”? The track is bland and unambitious, except for when it’s actively repelling (“get litty, babe”; the entire fucking premise of “yummy”). Bieber doesn’t even sound like he cares. At first, I thought his team must have chosen a song named “Yummy” as a lead single for the same reason scammers still send Nigerian prince emails: immediately weed out the people who have no patience for it, and focus instead on reaching the sympathetic (his fanbase) and the oblivious (the general public bogeyman that passively consumes hits through playlists). And then I learned that the bridge namedrops Bieber’s own house slipper brand, in a dumb, out of touch move that only a rich celebrity would approve of. That single moment makes me think his team is, in fact, desperate enough to coast on soulless music and hope to profit off Bieber’s previous reputation and work alone. We’re all just tired, aren’t we?
[1]

Jibril Yassin: Justin Bieber, a generational vocal talent, is trying to channel Post Malone here and all that comes to mind is a xerox of the Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man meme. Can we get Usher to come back and fix this? 
[1]

Reader average: [2.66] (6 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

10 Responses to “Justin Bieber – Yummy”

  1. WHICH WINNER. DID THE SUBHEAD

  2. “baby” turns 10 this month incidentally

  3. “(or were babies as of “Baby”)”

    thanks I hate this!!

  4. (not your blurb, my advancing age)

  5. I had an ear infection and couldn’t hear in my left ear all this week and I come back and finally listen to THE NEW JUSTIN BIEBER SINGLE and it’s this?

    and to think I used to proudly tell strangerspeople I knew only vaguely that I was a Belieber too :(

  6. I did the subhead!

  7. Brad’s right, someone deserves credit for that subhead

  8. thank you C

  9. Damn, not sure why I didn’t see the earlier comment when I posted that comment, thanks C!

  10. I started 2019 (well, started July, when I joined TSJ) with a [10], and I started 2020 with a [1]. I guess stay tuned to see how the pattern develops in 2021!

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