Oh, calm down. This isn't a call for the murder of American's favorite prepubescent pop idol. Sure, the former YouTube sensation from Stratford, Ontario who dresses and talks (and Tweets) like a diminutive Tupac Shakur has made more money in the last two years than you or I will see in ten lifetimes, but I'd never wish physical harm on the kid. Personally, I find his music only slightly more obnoxious than that of the thousands of crap pop artists who preceded him, from Andy Gibb to Zooey Deschanel.
No, my sentiments are offered in the purest spirit of giving, and echo those of the two surviving (and now legitimately elderly) members of the Who. Because the harsh truth is that these are Bieber's best days, and he should milk that poncey emo bowl cut and unfortunate lack of facial hair for all they're worth. Because if musical history has taught us anything, humiliation and ignominy are all that lie ahead.
And that's if he's lucky.
The professional lifespan of the teen pop star is short and mostly doomed. Preadolescent girls soon become merely adolescent, who tend to be less satisfied with harmless androgyny. The ideal outcome after a few years of wild popularity is a long stretch of inactivity (highlighted by stints in rehab and well-publicized trysts with a Lohan or a Hilton) followed by a lucrative reunion tour capitalizing on your former fans' new-found disposable income (this is also known as the "Backstreet Boys approach").
And it isn't as if the life of an allegedly adult music star is all that great. The infamous Billy Corgan-Courtney Love Twitter War of '10 alone is proof of that. Hell, John Mayer -- by all accounts an accomplished guitarist and musician -- is a public embarrassment who thinks every malformed thought that flows across his mental transom will be met with the same adulation as his now wholly irrelevant tweets.
So what are Bieber's options for prolonging the attention he so desperately craves? Well, he's already well down the road to the first one: Butching up his image. Unfortunately, the hoodies, bling, and fingerless gloves will only take you so far. Does he dare follow in the footsteps of the once mighty New Kids on the Block, who infamously steered down a darker path as NKOTB (a move that went over as well as Donnie's penchant for lighting motel room carpet on fire)? His audience might stick around all the way into their junior years of high school, but will it be worth getting booed off stage at the Orange Bowl?
Perhaps a change in genres is in order? Granted, I'm not really sure what the opposite of "milquetoast pop" is...jazz fusion? "Outlaw" country? On second thought, this probably isn't the best idea. He should at least ask Pat Benatar what she thinks.
That leaves the most drastic option: switching genders. If Bieber is going to go down this road, he'd better get on the stick (so to speak). Enough people are already confused about the kid's X-Y chromosomal makeup, so why not bite the bullet and go full on femme? After all, it's the best time to capitalize on your target demographic entering their college years and starting to...experiment.
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Whatever Bieber does, he needs to make up his mind before the voice starts changing.
Man, Peter Brady...whatever happened to that poor bastard?
...fine. We'll call him the exception to the rule.