Justin Bieber

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Longform You Have to Read: The Life Cycle of a Teen Idol

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In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, classic status, or just a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, in honor of Leonardo DiCaprio’s 40th birthday, we’re looking at some of the greatest articles profiling and analyzing teen idols.
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The New Sad Boys of Pop

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“It’s alright to cry, even my dad does it sometimes,” Ed Sheeran urges towards the end of X, an album that’s so shrouded in Nice Guy Syndrome that Sheeran deserves his own tackily named subgenre. In the larger context of mainstream music trends, the acoustic strummer falls under the heading of Sad-Boy Pop. He may be alone emotionally, but Sheeran and a few similar chart-topping artists — like Sam Smith and Bleachers — are together in redefining what it means to be a solo male star in pop circa 2014. Sonically, they couldn’t be more different, but they’re united by their embrace of the melancholy amidst a genre marked by its blissful frivolity. Even Robin Thicke is sad these days, going from “I know you want it” to “I’ll wait for forever for you to love me again.”
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Watching Teenage Car Crashes in Slow Motion: Are Justin Bieber and Shia LaBeouf Doomed?

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In Teddy Wayne’s 2013 book The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, the protagonist is an 11-year-old pop star with a great range, a love of Michael Jackson, a manager named Jane, and an entourage. He’s the head of a multimillion-dollar corporation that involves singing songs about true love to tween girls every night — and he’s also the loneliest boy in the world, playing video games and searching for anyone who could be his absent father. It is a quick, sharp, sad-as-hell read, the story of a boy stuck in a glimmering prison; it is also a book that completely presages Justin Bieber’s recent publicity troubles as his star is on the wane. As a reader, you spend the book feeling bad for poor, lonely Jonny, ready and waiting for the moment that he snaps and breaks out of his life.
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Why It Matters That TMZ Suppressed the Racist Bieber Tape

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Gawker ran a fascinating tidbit of news this week related to the ongoing Justin-Bieber-racist-video feeding frenzy. Almost lost in all the “OMG IS BIEBER RACIST” stuff was the fact that TMZ has had the tape for years, something confirmed by TMZ themselves over the weekend: “[We] got this video 4 years ago but we decided not to post it… in large part because he was 15 and immediately told his friends what he did was stupid.” Not so, says Gawker — in fact, the reason TMZ didn’t publish is because they decided “to hold [the video] over Bieber and his team’s heads in exchange for appearances on TMZ’s media properties and cooperation with stories.”
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