From what I understand of this strange creature referred to as Justin Bieber, he is adored by pre-teens and hated by virtually everyone else. I now completely see why.
Justin Bieber has singlehandedly killed steampunk.
Okay, that's a little overdramatic. I will still always dearly love steampunk but this music video just put one artfully rusted, Victorian nail into a pine box of cliches. Tons of unnecessary goggles (the goggles! They do nothing!), faded and dirty pinstripes, gears glued randomly to pieces of clothing... it truly is godawful. It's as if "the Biebs", as he is known, spent a half hour looking at steampunk designs on Etsy and built a video around his findings. It isn't pretty, folks. Even worse, the song is "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", which he managed to butcher so badly I had to watch the video on mute.
Follow me after the jump to see just how bad this music video truly is.
Above is this... thing they've decided to call a music video. If you watch it, I beseech you to do so on mute, because Justin Bieber apparently sounds like a young Michael Jackson being gnawed on by honey badgers. It's an atrocious noise, autotuned to death and bereft of any charm or talent. His voice is the music equivalent of Kraft singles; over processed and cheesy.
The first thing I noticed is that apparently Justin Bieber is cosplaying as Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Look at that metal "arm" he's sporting. His vest is also festooned with gears and ribbon, randomly. The exact second he started to wind the clockwork girl and she began to pop and lock, I actually groaned out loud. And then everyone starts to dance like robots. It's like watching Newsies as performed by Disney animatronics. Incredibly disturbing.
While Bieber sings about Santa, wearing the tormented expression of a pre-teen told they couldn't play World of Warcraft until they had finished their homework, more steampunk people get up to dance. At this point, we've reached the threshold of the truly bizarre. For a song about Santa, Justin Bieber looks as if he's being tortured and the dancers all look like they came from a town next to Uncanny Valley.
Let's take a moment to address what everyone is wearing. Everything looks as if it's steampunk as envisioned by the Gap. It's all slightly too clean and perfect. Everyone has newsboy hats with goggles and have oodles of pocket watches attached to their belts. I also have no idea what manner of fashion felony Bieber is wearing on his body. Are those some unholy denim cross between skinny jeans and parachute pants?
There's a moment where a girl in a bowler hat starts to vogue with her hands and ends up looking like a reject from some complicated ninja anime. It's so painful to watch and I have intense second hand embarrassment for everyone involved. There's a man with his face painted like a mime who does handsprings (as if this whole thing wasn't scary enough, they had to involve a mime!), and there is a little child who is being taught to breakdance by creepy steampunk Santa. None of it make sense. There's even a moment where Bieber is so overcome by the fact that Santa Claus is coming to town that he feels the need to rip his jacket off. His feelings about Santa are so strong, you guys!
The whole video takes place in a basement half-assed into a steampunk factory. There are inexplicable machines everywhere, like old newspaper printing machines, conveyor belts and a giant pressure gauge attached to a drum kit. Every so often, wisps of steam would waft around, not created by any of these machines, of course. It's just to remind you that this is steampunk. It's as if the entire video was shot against greenscreens and then dropped onto a set from the abysmal Wild Wild West film.
Finally, what does this even have to do with Christmas? Besides the song and the jarringly edited in scenes from the tie-in animated film, it has absolutely zero to do with the holiday. Who had the bright idea to choose "steampunk" as a theme for a Christmas video about a film that isn't steampunk? The concept makes even less sense than Justin Bieber's pants.
So there you have it, folks. Steampunk, as envisioned by one tiny teen sensation and a boardroom full of people at a major record label. I wonder what nerdy trend they'll entirely screw up and rip the heart out of next? Beyonce dancing in a video dressed as Uhura from Star Trek? Ke$ha dressed as Starbuck on the red carpet? A twangy country music group as browncoats? Wait, I know, Glee recreating Buffy's fan favorite "Once More With Feeling" episode!
I've just depressed myself. I think I need to go curl up in a ball now.