What Grinds My Gears: People Questioning Why I’m a Belieber

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It’s 2009. I’m at the Tyler Galleria in Riverside with my mom and sister, some classic Peykani girl shopping on a Saturday afternoon. Our trip couldn’t have been better — new shoes, new look, new life. Only thing left to get is some frozen yogurt for the drive home. Heading towards Pinkberry, suddenly, my ears detect a cursed song, a pop hit I had been avoiding for months.

“And I was like baby, baby, baby — oh!”

I rush into the yogurt shop, leaving my family in confused desertion. There just was no way I could let Justin’s prepubescent whining ruin this otherwise ideal excursion.

Let’s fast-forward six years, to 1 a.m. on a Friday night. I lounge in my room, ready to launch into a journalism paper I have been procrastinating on all week. Opening up Spotify to set the soundtrack to the impending all-nighter, my heart skips a beat when I see the photo of a shirtless tatted-out white boy gracing the New Releases section. It’s all happening. I click play on “Purpose,” Justin Bieber’s newest album and shamelessly prepare myself for a deluxe pop listening experience.

Yes, I have come a long way in the past six years, expanding my musical horizons from basic indie, alternative rock to the spectrum of recorded sounds from around the world. And yet, for the past month, no artist has gotten more hyped and happy than the Biebs. Anyone who knows me can attest to my incessant promotion of how much he’s grown as an artist, how his sound has matured and how he’s now working with some incredible producers to make super interesting pop music.

But before I can get to all that in my Bieber assessment, I have to endure the raised eyebrows. The incredulity. The scoffing. The disbelief that me, quintessential underground weird music snob, can genuinely like the mass appeal that is Justin Bieber. Well hey, here’s an idea: maybe I’m multi-faceted in my tastes and can get down to Ghanaian rap as much as I can to Diplo-produced pop perfection.

What it all comes down to is the preconception that someone can only be one “type” of person; if you like this, that means you can’t like that. I was guilty of this all those years ago, acting better than Bieber because I thought I was too good for pop music, for what was appealing to mass audiences.

Those who don’t give pop music a chance have an unfounded superiority complex. How does specialized music taste make someone better than anyone else? Or taste in anything for that matter! Taste develops from upbringing, experiences and that magically ambiguous thing called personality. These facets change person to person so trying to compare each other’s tastes is a fruitless form of competition.

So, yes, I am a proud Belieber. Add that to the endless list of categories assigned to me, right after (in my mom’s words) “college hipster doofus.”

 

Savannah Peykani is a third-year Literary Journalism, Film and Media Studies double major. She can be reached at speykani@uci.edu

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