Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Onion and Justin Timberlake

I don't link the Onion here because everyone who reads this checks it already (I know our audience has grown substantially as of late, but I'm still pretty confident in that assessment.) Suffice it to say, if you haven't checked it yet- this issue is on of the best I've seen in awhile. Anyway, I'm going to talk about the Onion "AV club" today, which is different. "Why", you ask? Because I used to never check it (and I probably still wouldn't have if I didn't get the issues in print) and it's awesome, and I was reading it today and saw something funny.

The lead singer of Bloc Party, Kele Okereke (whom I like) is commenting on the tracks that randomly come up on his Ipod when it's set to shuffle. For those unfamiliar- this is a monthly feature for the AV club and it's usually less cool than it sounds but I always check it anyway. So a song by Prince comes up and Kele starts talking about how nobody can do what Prince does and he says "certainly not Justin Timberlake" and then laughs. So what comes up on his Ipod next (remember it's on shuffle)? None other than JT himself performing sexyback.

The easy way to spin this is "People are embarrassed to like JT because it's not cool, but we all secretly listen to him non stop." Who knows whether that's true, but if it is it shouldn't be. And I'm not saying this in one of "c'mon bro-dude just like what you like who cares what people think?" bullshit things people do when they want to make a big deal out how independent they are and how little they care about what other people think (catch them listening to the Bravery though and see how they are). Newsflash: people who don't really care also don't care that you know that and so don't make a big deal out of it. No, it's because it's actually cool to like Timberlake; really cool even. Check this link if you don't believe me (the tastemaker website gave him 5/5). So what's going on?

First let's establish a few things. One, Justin Timberlake is not a good-looking dude, naturally. Feel free to scroll up for the corn-rows again, too.

However, Justin Timberlake can be done up to look pretty damn good (just sayin'.)

I just wanted to put those there to make sure people were still reading. But so Justin Timberlake has taken on this strange cultural cachet in which liking him is the ultimate "I don't care what people think" statement. It's so ultimate, in fact, that it's become actually cool to say you like the guy and vice versa. Talk to a hipster (hell talk to the guy above who said "Bro-dude") and just say you don't like JT and it'll go like this:

Me: Yeah, apart from one song I'm not really a fan of Justin Timberlake.

P4KR (eyes lighting up as he realizes it's his big opportunity to show just how much he doesn't care about other people think of him and his taste in music): Dude-bro, it's just good music you know? Good pop music right? I mean sure I know it's not "cool" to like him, but that's not what...


Notice: Cliff's notes of this post.
Read this sentence and if you understand it (and good luck), then you've got 81% of this post. I'm saying that JT is Music you don't like but you also know that everyone else thinks that it's actually music you like but that you only say you hate because you think you're supposed to think it's horrible. Which winds up meaning it's music you're supposed to (say you) like.

Now there are guys who genuinely, truly like Timberlake, and I'm totally cool with them. In fact they should be pissed too because their actual appreciation is getting hijacked. If you're one of those people, scroll up and click the hyperlink for "apart from one song" (i.e. denoting the song of his that I really like) because it's the remix of "What goes around" featuring Rick Ross and Pitbull and it's badass. I couldn't find it on a single CD, either!

By the way, I realize I'm probably giving him way too much credit by referring to these songs as "Justin Timberlake's songs" when in reality they're probably "Timbaland's songs that Justin Timberlake contributed one line to so he could squeak out a co-writing credit." I do this by convention only- one reason why Timberlake isn't the next Prince is that Prince was a great songwriter on top of everything else. We can't say that about JT.

At this point there're two different meanings of "I like Justin Timberlake", only one of which refers to the actual aesthetic appreciation of Timberlake's 85% shitty music. The other one -as far as i can tell- refers to this new method of publicly declaring how you aren't affected by hip-culture telling you what you should or shouldn't like (the irony is so obvious it's barely worth mentioning.) It's enough to make your goddamn head spin.

Anyway, as someone who realizes that if there was ever a time in our cultural milieu to like Justin Timberlake without shame it's now: Justin Timberlake sucks.


Erin said...

oh my goddess. and with "cultural milieu" even??

Matt C said...

I like Justin Timberlake and can't stand The Bravery. How's that taste, bro-dude?

Matt said...

I don't know if you noticed, but you wound up a stand in for "our cultural milieu" (check the link) which means you can't comment- it's impossible to be objective if you're a goddamn milieu!

btw, Leah's sis and I have a contest ongoing to see who can link your myspace page the most because it's so awesome. I've been trying to do one link per post.

Matt C said...

How 'bout that? Myspace is blocked at work...and I'll leave my comments wherever I deem necessary, just like my seed.

Matt said...

"I'll leave my comments wherever I deem necessary, just like my seed."

Okay, then. Challenge #1: leave you comments on the breastmilk of a cambodian immigrant.