Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Justin Bieber Ruined Steampunk (and Christmas)

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.
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10 comments:

  1. My thought is that it's supposed to be a steampunk version of Santa's workshop and the dancers are elves and toys (hence the wind-up doll and the jack-out-of-the-box (mime). Or maybe I'm looking for reason where there is none.

    But, I have to get a little dance-geeky and point out that the girl in the bowler hat is not voguing, she's tutting, and doing a respectable job. I have an uncomfortable feeling that those are good dancers under the cheesy choreography. Unfortunately for many pro dancers, a job is a job, regardless of how tacky.

    When I read "Glee recreating Once More With Feeling" I almost threw up. That would be an unimaginable tragedy, and yet I find my brain attempting to imagine it. This whole thing makes me want to bleach my brain now...

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  2. I...

    I loved this video.

    I thought it was cute and interesting and there was actually DANCING. Not just some scantily clad honeys shaking it like its their job (because it is). I really enjoyed the clockwork girl and the windup doll.

    I didn't love Constipated Bieber Face but I just looked away in those moments. The song was okay - it is what it is.

    So, yeah, I really liked it a lot. That's a weird feeling considering it's Bieber.

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  3. ::curled up in fetal position rocking in a corner::

    OK - better now. I looked up Abney Park and that steampunk Panic! At the Disco video.

    I can't say that the Biebs killed steampunk, because that was not steampunk! La-la-la-la - can't hear you!

    Also a note: what was up with his pants? All of the other guys had normal pants. I guess because they actually had to dance and flip around and stuff.

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  4. That was hilarious! And made even more so when the boy wonder grabs his droopy crotch. My, my what the cool kids watch these days.

    Thanks for the laugh Stellar Four!!

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  5. I don't know about you guys but I'd pay five bucks to see Ke$ha prance around on the wings of a rainbow-hued sparkly viper as Starbuck.

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  6. Hey - this was a moving and complex hymn to the repressed proletariat who not only consume and are consumed by the commercialism of Christmas - but also break their sweat soaked backs to produce the goods it is founded on. Sheesh. Can't believe you didn't get that. For shame.

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  7. haha, I kind of love you, Celine.

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  8. The one, the only, the original: Steampunk Santa! One elf single-handedly bringing Santa’s workshop into the 19th century! http://tinyurl.com/2enahw5 No music, no video, no Bieber!

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  9. Alright now, let's be honest here. It wasn't that bad. You all remember wild wild west, that didn't ruin steampunk forever. In fact, it was even entertaining to watch. And while I don't enjoy his music, or his dancing or really much of him, I'm not gonna call him a failure. I'm gonna call him a 17 year old kid who's developing a more enlightened sense of interests. So he's dipped his toe in the waters of steampunk, so what? We're a friendly bunch and we're inclusive. We don't get riled up at any average joe who joins our table, we cheer and pass drinks round! What makes one kid with just a bit of fame any different? This airship's big enough for the whole world. The boiler room could always handle another pair of hands. Don't pass out the brass handled rifles, pass round a few shovels. These ships don't power themselves, you know.

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