THE SCENE 6/27/12

By Grant James


Justin Bieber: “Believe”


Justin Bieber instantly became a teen heartthrob with the release of his first stateside single, “One Less Lonely Girl,” in November 2009. My then-22-year old partner in crime—who shall remain nameless—introduced me to Bieber’s sound, and explained the extent of her Bieber Fever.” When I responded with knee-slapping, red-in-the-face, uncontrollable laughter, she turned pale—and I realized that she was 100 percent serious. Within weeks, Bieber Fever had spread like wildfire. Everyone wanted to fondle this poor 15-year-old Canadian boy with the all-too-perfect lesbian-esque haircut. Three years later, after what seems like 10,000 hit singles, Bieber released his third studio album, “Believe.”

On opening track “All Around the World,” Bieber joins rapper Ludacris with one simple message: “All around the world, people want to be loved/all around the world, they’re no different than us/all around the world.” On lead single “Boyfriend,” Bieber reassures every neurotic pre-teen fangirl that “if (he) was your boyfriend (he’d) never let you go, never let you go.” Words like “swag,” “fondue,” and even the name “Buzz Lightyear,” all make appearances in “Boyfriend,” providing an adorable visual of an extremely wholesome Bieber. “One Love” and “Catching Feelings” stand out, with Bieber’s sweet vocals front and center. At 17 tracks, the album is a bit long. Many of the songs sound alike, and some sounding like tossed-away “B” sides from an R&B boy band, circa 1998. Guest spots from Drake, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, and Jaden Smith don’t really add much. What really stands out on “Believe” are Bieber’s well-developed vocals, and his eternally-catchy hooks. At times, he has a definite air of vintage Jackson 5 about him. The album is a great step forward for the singer, with beautiful vocals, and some very memorable moments.



London’s Hot Chip has made quite the name in the underground electronic/indie scene. Their 2008 single “Ready for the Floor” is the band’s most notable to date, with 3.2 million views currently on YouTube. “Ready for the Floor” was the perfect breakthrough single for the band: Fresh, fun, and most importantly, danceable.  “In Our Heads” is the band’s fifth studio album, and focuses more on their spastic, keyboard-lead breakdowns, and strange vocal samples. Their “One Life Stand” from 2010 was tame in comparison. Opening track “Motion Sickness” uses a quirky percussion sample to give you a good indication of where the album is heading. “Don’t Deny Your Heart” is pure 80s synth-pop, while lead single “Night and Day” relies completely on a neurotic funk. The album definitely is a return to the band’s more experimental sound. On “These Chains,” a strange, high-pitched vocal sampling in the background serves as chorus, and is definitely one of the highlights of the album. Be advised: “In Our Heads” is definitely experimental, so approaching it with an open mind is key.


Making a SCENE:


Carrie, Under Fire This is what country music star Carrie Underwood gets for trying the whole “Love Thy Neighbor” thing. This month, the married, straight—and devoutly Christian—29 year old singer told the British newspaper The Independent, “I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love,” adding that she is nobody else’s judge.

The backlash has been as swift and harsh as a Biblical plague, and to hear the former American Idol, you get the sense the poor thing just wants to be Underwood—or under her bed, in the back of a closet: ANY place but in the crosshairs of angry political fire. On Tuesday, she told the AP in London, “I love making music, and I generally try to stay out of any kind of controversy.” We feel you, Carrie.

It Wasn’t Even Mother’s Day At a show in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, June 16 , fans of Lady Gaga handed the performer a gift of a vibrator—complete with Rabbit attachment. ’Nuff said.

Cold Pitchers, Hot Catchers This fall, San Francisco see the opening of its first gay sports bar. How—you may ask—was this hole in The City that Made America Gay not previously filled? We don’t know, either, but Hi Tops takes over the digs previously occupied by  Lime, in the Castro District. Construction for the
project hasn’t begun yet, but the owners plan a pre-World Series launch, and hope to be hip deep in tight ends and wide receivers come Super Bowl in February.