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Word For Word: Justin Bieber Fever sweeps the nation, but why?

What to make of Justin Bieber, the baby-cheeked boy whose album My World 2.0 is No. 1 on the Billboard charts? Who was described by Rolling Stone as "65 inches of pure love panther, with sensitive man-bangs and a voice like Joey McIntyre getting savagely beaten by the AutoTune police"? • Bieber Fever, like the mania accompanying so many pop stars you never heard of a week ago, can be bewildering, especially if you're old enough to drive. • But let's remember, every generation has baffled parents and critics. After a performance on The Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956, Elvis Presley was slammed for his "appalling lack of musicality," "vulgarity" and "animalism." No one is saying that Bieber, 16, has the chops to be the next hip-swiveling sex god, but his frequent hair-flipping is clearly doing something for America. • After snooping through all things Justin Bieber — fan sites, album reviews, YouTube — one thing is clear: Girls want to know EVERYTHING about him. On justinbieberzone.com, we learn that he is claustrophobic, what claustrophobic means, that he likes tacos, his favorite slang word is shawty and his favorite number is 6. In recent weeks, a 3-year-old girl achieved YouTube celebrity status for a clip in which she bawls for 5 minutes because she loves Justin Bieber. The Canadian swooner has more than 95 million YouTube views on his song Baby. • Presley's highest view count is just over 16 million, for Always On My Mind. To help you catch up, let's review some of the Bieber buzz.

Los Angeles Times Feb. 15, 2010

"For those who don't spend much time around teenagers, Bieber is something of a new David Cassidy for the era of Auto-Tune. He has the classic prerequisites of stardom in this demographic: apple cheeks, stunning orthodontics, the sly pout of troublemakers from Tom Sawyer on forward."

Boston Globe Nov. 23, 2009

"Bieber is indistinguishable from any of a thousand prefab pop aspirants with musical inadequacies that need glossing over in the studio."

Rolling Stone March 22, 2010

"For parents in search of a fresh-faced male counterpart to Taylor Swift — and for millions of tweens looking for a cute boy who knows his way around a beat — help has arrived."

Twitter post, reposted on vibe.com

@BieberLover89 My dad was so p----- at my grades. & Said 'your failing because of that bieber kid' but hes not mad anymore

New York Times March 21, 2010

"What initially appeared to be a trifle of a release quickly swelled to a force: a string of hit singles, mall frenzy, filling a teen-dream vacuum."

KAYLE, justinbieberzone.com April 13, 2010 at 8 p.m.

you are the hotest guy ever and your music is the bets ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU SO MUTCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chicago Tribune March 25, 2010

"Judging by the volume inside the venue — an ear-drum rupturing sound that could have been used to chase Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy in Panama City in lieu of Metallica — Bieber mania, although relatively new, isn't set to subside anytime soon."

Entertainment Weekly July 8, 2009

"Who is this little nugget?"

Consequence of Sound April 1, 2010

"Most of his dance songs call on syncopated synthesizers and voice enhancing techniques like auto tuning, but isn't that what the kids want these days?

myspace.com/justinbieber

April 14, 2010

Justin Bieber,

theres so much i wanta say to you , bt i hate how yull never get any of my messages! ,i always try bt i never scusseed. EVER.

Washington Post March 23, 2010

"After years of humdrum bubblegum from Miley Cyrus and the brothers Jonas, the 16-year-old has thrown a candy-coated wrench into Disney's heartthrob assembly line by giving young fans something worth screaming their lungs out for: lovable pop songs."

Us magazine March 16, 2010

My World has more of the teen sensation's hard-to-resist R&B pop and uniquely grown-up vocal trills. But beware of a few corny lines, like 'Catch a bad chick by her toe' in the nursery rhyme-derived 'Eeenie Meenie.' Yech!"

Oprah.com April 12, 2010

bieberlover: ooo id love justin to be on oprah. Justin is the most talented singer in the world. me and justin have a lot of things in common and i bet we would make great friends. i cried when i saw how pretty those girls were in his music videos because i was afraid they would be his future girlfriend. justin plz dont fall in love yet.

JUSTIN I LOVE YOU!

Salon March 24, 2010

"In time, he may settle into the respectable adult stardom of his fellow Justin — Mr. Timberlake. Or he may wind up as a mug shot on the Smoking Gun. But if there's one thing about Justin Bieber's future that's certain it's only this: Someday we are all going to look back on that hairstyle and laugh."

YouTube 3-year-old cries because she loves Justin Bieber, Feb. 5, 2010

"Why do you love Justin Bieber?"

"Because I know he loves me back."

"Honey?"

"What, mommy?"

"We don't have to cry because we love Justin Bieber.

"Yeah, we do."

Rachel Lubitz is a senior at Countryside High and music critic for tb-two*, the Times' weekly publication for high school students.

Word for Word is an occasional feature excerpting passages of interest from books, magazines, websites and other sources. The text may be edited for space but the original spelling, grammar and punctuation are unchanged.

Word For Word: Justin Bieber Fever sweeps the nation, but why? 04/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2010 6:14pm]

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