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Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson have been keeping their millions of fans updated on their latest project thanks to their narcissist-heavy Instagram, Twitter, and whatever Shots is accounts. The two pouty-lipped pop singers are releasing a duet album just in time for Christmas (sales) and have already bestowed upon us the first single, Home To Mama.
Embarrassing title aside, the John Mayer-wannabe pop song really isn’t that bad. This rave review doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Bieber alone has sold almost 14 million albums worldwide. But that doesn’t mean the song, which has no qualities of a debut single, qualifies as a comeback for the Canadian crooner, or that it’s even a good idea.
Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson releasing an album together in 2014 is actually a terrible idea for both musicians.
The worst kept secret in Hollywood is that Bieber has had a shit-tastic 2014. Heck, even 2013 wasn’t great. Admittedly, every piece of bad press that followed Bieber was of his own doing, or rather, the result of hanging out with the wrong people and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And doing stupid stuff. Mostly though, he acted like a rich 20 year-old and things went accordingly.
Justin’s career over the past two years has mirrored his personal life ie. not good. A comeback to the days of Believe is needed and a few mixtape songs released with his bff of the week does not make a comeback.
And let’s be clear. Justin Bieber needs a comeback.
Remember the digital album Journals Bieber released last year? Probably not. Low promotion, questionable collaborators, (R. Kelly? Really? Where the hell are you Scooter Braun?) and a reliance on Beliebers to buy a subpar record just because Justin’s name was on in resulted in Bieber having his first non-charting Billboard album.
Bieber is really, really good at making music. He’s just been too busy being really, really good at being a teenager. Low album sales and a tainted public image are not necessarily career-killers, but experiencing both at the same time means Justin’s next move needs to be a big one. Otherwise, there is a very real possibility that Bieber’s time at the top of the charts could be over for good.
A duet album with a younger, less experienced musician will not push Bieber to release his best material to date, which is exactly what he needs. Think of Pink and Dallas Green’s surprise duet album rose ave. They’re two artists at opposite ends of the pop spectrum coming together to try new things, explore different sounds, grow, and learn from one another. That’s not going to happen for Bieber with Cody Simpson.
Working with top producers and focusing on making the best album he’s ever made should be Justin’s main focus, or else he’s a few VMAs away from this. You can come back from this, but why make it so difficult on yourself?
Now what about not-so-little-anymore Cody Simpson? The Aussie teen’s career has never really gotten out of second gear. He’s been this close many times without quite hitting mainstream success.
There are a few reasons for this. The most obvious one is confusing album titles, including Preview to Paradise, Surfers Paradise and Paradise. It’s too much. Actually, it’s too little. We need a new word. People will think they’ve already bought a record and not realize that all of Simpson’s album titles have the word ‘Paradise’ in them. We get it. You grew up in Australia and it’s pretty. Get some diversity in your album titles.
Much like his album titles, Simpson doesn’t have enough variety in his sound. His latest single Surfboard (sorry, where is he from again? Oh right…) was a huge step in the right direction, repetitive song title aside. But that was it.
Simpson should have pushed full-steam ahead and released more Surfboard-quality solo tracks. Instead, he shifted his focus to making music that sounds like Bieber’s B-sides to hopefully gain some exposure by working with the biggest pop star in the world. Except Bieber isn’t the biggest pop star anymore.
It’s like going to see the Spice Girls in 1998. Sure, still a great show, but you know it would have been way better a few years ago when Geri was in the band.
Making a duet album in 2014 with Justin Bieber will not do the things for Cody Simpsons career that it would have done in 2011. I’m sure he knows that. I’m sure his management knows that. But if his recent stint on Dancing With The Stars is any indication, Simpson and co. are willing to try something, anything new. What they really should be doing is figuring out where Surfboard came from and then making an entire album like that.
In case you’re thinking we should just let Bieber and Simpson have time out of the spotlight to grow, become adults, and figure out what they really want to do, I agree. But they don’t seem interested in doing that.
Who knows. The upcoming duet album from Bieber and Simpson may shock us all. I hope it does. I hope it’s packed with amazing songs. I’ll be the first one in line to buy it. Actually, I’ll probably be far back in a line full of tween girls, but I’ll still buy it, nonetheless.
My concern is that in actuality, the album will be a forgettable blemish on both musician’s discography. It will set them back in their careers at a time when they should be flourishing, working with different songwriters, and collaborating with cutting-edge producers, not making an album with someone just because they also like to wear oversized leather hats.