07 May, 2010

Lyrical Analysis: Justin Bieber's "Baby"

Today we're going to take a look at Justin Bieber, the 16-year old Canadian who's mother once upon a time put videos of him singing up on youtube and the rest, as they say, is history. He now rules the air waves with a Disney-esque vibe, dreamy side-swept hair, and a very high voice that the girls just dig. Bieber has had seven songs from his debut album, "My World," on Billboard's Hot 100, being the the only artist to ever have done so. This is a true testament to the power of tweens everywhere. His song "Baby" comes off his "My World 2.0" album, and has given him international pop clout. Let's take a look at the lyrics behind the hair that makes underage hearts the world over swoon.

Justin Bieber's "Baby"
Ohh wooaah, ohh wooaah, ohh wooaah
You know you love me, I know you care/ 
Just shout whenever and I'll be there
You want my love, you want my heart/ And we will never ever ever be apart

That's a lot of "-evers". Personally, I find independence rather attractive and need my own space every once in a while. But then again, I was not born in the 90s and am not the target demographic for the Beebs. But as I prefer boys to spend less time on their hair than I do, I'm ok with that.

 Are we an item? Girl quit playing/ We're just friends, what are you saying
Said there's another, look right in my eyes/ My first love broke my heart for the first time

It does make sense for your first love to be the first to break your heart. Gotta hand it to him though, he is striving for lyrical clarity. He could have just said that his first love broke his heart and I would have been all, "but did he have his heart broken before?" Now I don't have to.

And I was like baby, baby, baby ohhh, like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh, I thought you'd always be mine, mine
Baby, baby, baby ohh, like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh, I thought you'd always be mine, mine (oh oh)

No offense J. Beebs, but maybe she broke up with you because you didn't actually say anything to her. You were "like" "baby" 18 times in the first chorus alone, so she was probably getting out to save her sanity. Valuable life lesson: pet names are useful, but they don't actually work better when they are compounded. It rings a bit insincere. As Shakespeare said, the lady doth protest too much. What are you trying to gain, dreamboat?

For you, I would have done whatever, and I just can't believe, we ain't together
And I wanna play it cool, but I'm losin' you/ I'll buy you anything, I'll buy you any ring
And I'm in pieces, baby fix me/ And just shake me til' you wake me from this bad dream
I'm going down, down, down, down/ And I just can't believe my first love won't be around.

Justin Bieber inadvertently provides a cautionary tale of how not to act in a relationship. Keep calling her "baby," even if she has already broken up with you. Suggest that her love can be bought with jewelry. And because women of all ages love the smell of desperation, tell her you need her to "fix" you. You may be only 16, Mr. Bieber, but you've clearly endured a lifetime of relationship advice and self-help books. Brava.

And I'm like baby, baby, baby ohh, like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh, I thought youd always be mine, mine
Baby, baby, baby ohh, Like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohhh, I thought you'd always be mine, mine

Dear god, we get it. This song is a bit boring by itself, so I found the music video to watch instead. The video follows the trials and tribulations of J.Beebs while he chases a girl, who we can assume to be his old love interest, around a super club-y, super awesome, totally realistic looking bowling alley. There is excellent lighting, sexually tense bowling-a-strike competitions (inuendo?), and dance-offs in the bowling lanes, though none of the dancers seem to be wearing bowling shoes. What kind of bowling depravity is this!? But Justin Bieber is clearly the coolest kid in the alley, and ergo- the world. Now back to the song.

[Ludacris solo]
Luda! When I was 13, I had my first love, there was nobody that compared to my baby,
And nobody came between us or could ever come above, she had me goin' crazy,
Oh I was starstruck, she woke me up daily, don't need no Starbucks
She made my heart pound, and skip a beat when I see her in the street and,
At school on the playground, but I really wanna see her on the weekend,
She know she got me gazin', cuz she was so amazin'/And now my heart is breakin'
but I just keep on sayin'...

I love that Luda always says his name before he starts speaking. LOO-DAH! How awesome would it be to be able to do this in real life?

At a bar:
"Hi there, can I buy you a drink?"
"EHM-LEE! Gin and tonic, please."

At the store:
"Paper or plastic?"
"EHM-LEE! Actually I brought my own bags, thanks."

At the park:
"Excuse me, are you done with the swings?"
"EHM-LEE! Im'ma be another ten minutes."

In terms of the lyrics, I love when people say things along the line of "nothing ever came between us," after they have already broken up. Something was clearly amiss then, no? Discontinuity aside, this is the best part of the song. But then J.Beebs comes in again.

Baby, baby, baby ohh, like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh, I thought youd always be mine, mine
Baby, baby, baby ohh, like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh, I thought youd always be mine, mine

I'm gone, Yeah, yeah, yeah (6x)
Now Im all gone, now im all gone, now im all gone
Gone, gone, gone, gone
I'm gone.

How meta: Justin Bieber says that he is "gone," and then he really is gone 'cause it's the end of the song. He, my friends, is operating on another level entirely. And that level is sheer genius. In the last fourteen seconds of the song he says the word "gone" ten times, an average of once every 1.4 seconds.

Justin Bieber song tally:
"Baby": 54 times
"Yeah": 18 times
"Oh": 17 times
"No": 6 times

54 times for the word "baby." Wow. If we assume that it takes approximately 1.5 seconds to sing the word "baby," if one were to randomly tune in at any point during the 3 minutes and 28 seconds of the song "Baby," one would have a 38.9% chance of hearing Justin Bieber singing the word "baby." Over one out of every three times. That is a lot of babies. And an extremely aptly named song.

Related and amusing website: Lesbians who look like Justin Bieber. It's the hair thing.


  1. Just got my daily dose of sarcasm. Thank you for doing this!

    I wish more people would analyze Justin Bieber; it'd be a great sociology lesson, since he's got so many fans....

    Keep up the awesome!

    ~Pooja ^_^

  2. Musicologists will be studying the works of Bieber for centuries to come, the way they currently are with the works of Mozart and Beethoven.

  3. Musicologists will be consulting historians and psychiatrist to research as to why the beliebers were even born and were not executed immediately to prevent human races' degradation and if there were any mass genetic defects at that time which shut down the brains' music sensing parts.