Single review: Justin Bieber, “Yummy”

So, for his first single of the new decade, what on earth is this pink monstrosity Justin Bieber has unleashed unto us?

It’s safe to say I’m not the target audience for this single. It doesn’t help that I have an intense aversion to the word “Yummy” being used in a sexual context. I mean really? Is a word that is mostly used by 5 year olds really appropriate for sexytimes? Really? And given that I’m 44, I’m very much older than the people this single is aimed for. In fact, I was already older than them back in 1994 when Justin was born.

But it’s a new decade, and I have set myself the lofty (and very probably ludicrous) goal of chronicling pop music for the 20s, so here I am, listening to a song that was very much designed with anyone but me in mind. And despite all my reservations, I can’t bring myself to hate this song. It’s not terrible. Once the inane ‘yummy yum’ portion of the chorus is over, there’s quite a neat staccato refrain of ‘yeah babe yeah babe, say the word, on my way’. And the rest of it is perfectly listenable. It’s fine, pleasant background noise, as is the way with so much chart-bound pop these days.

But what’s going on with the visuals? The lyric video shows an eternal swirl of strawberry soft serve slowly descending in a way that unfortunately makes me think of a pink version of the poo emoji more than anything else. But I can’t fathom the mind of the modern 20-something, so perhaps that was the intention?

And then there’s the official video, which takes place in some sort of 70’s restaurant nightmare world.

Okay, I like the pink hair, and the cat that wanders across the table at one point. The dance routine at the end is a highlight, as it’s the only time in the video that the boy actually bothers to act like a pop star. But as for the rest, I have no idea what it’s trying to do. There’s such an air of derision about Justin’s performance of the song, as if he knows it’s a bit rubbish and is mocking all his fans who’ve rushed to buy it. What am I missing? Can a Millennial or Gen Z-er please explain this to me?

All in all, it’s okay. Title aside, there’s nothing egregiously bad about the song itself, and at least the current trend for Very Short Pop Singles means it’s over in just over three minutes – I still shudder to think of the 6+ minute jams a previous trouser-snaking Justin foisted upon us in the mid-00s. But it’s still nowhere near as good as a new era-launching single from one of the world’s biggest pop idols should be. The teenage girls of today deserve better.

⭐⭐⭐

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