Sunday 24 April 2011

After Justin Bieber, you should listen to music by ugly people

Dear True Beliebers,

Tuesday, April 19, was an exciting day for Singapore.

That was the day when Parliament was dissolved and Singaporeans learned that Polling Day will be on May 7.

But, of course, you don’t care about all that because being a Justin Bieber fan, you’re not old enough to vote.

(And in case you are old enough, I believe lawmakers are currently rushing legislation to bar anyone who knows all the words to Baby by heart from going anywhere near a polling booth.)

No, April 19 was special for you for a whole different reason – it was Bieber Day in Singapore!

That night, the Canadian singer-songwriter, movie star and all-round cutie performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to more than 10,000 of you.

So now that the concert is over, what’s next for you?

Who knows when the Bieb will return to Singapore?

He’ll probably release two or three more albums and fade away like so many teen pop phenoms through the decades from Fabian to Leif Garrett to Hanson.

Never heard of them? My point exactly.

And let me tell you, all of them had very nice hair too – and I know about hair.

But then Bieber may become like Elvis Presley, who remains an international cultural icon 34 years after his death.

But then Bieber will also have to get fat, have a daughter who will marry and divorce a suspected pedophile - excuse me, I mean the King of Pop - and be found dead in the toilet.

Hey, never say never.

You may not know this now, but you will recover from Bieber fever – and sooner than you think.

So what do you do after you’ve outgrown Selena Gomez’s boyfriend? Whose music can you listen to through puberty and beyond?

Well, you need to listen to artistes who can keep you interested for a lifetime. So forget your Jay Chous, Big Bangs, Rihannas, Katy Perrys and Lady Gagas.

You need to listen to music by ugly people – yes, even uglier than Lady Gaga.

Music by ugly people must be good because you know their fans can’t be going to their concerts for their good looks.

To help you ease into music by ugly people, I recommend the May 15 concert at Marina Bay Sands by enduring non-threatening Australian soft-rock duo, Air Supply, who have been touring Asia regularly and pleasing fans in Singapore since the 80s. Just beware of the old people smell.

Then later, you may graduate to the harder stuff by such award-winning ugly people as Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire.

Before you know it, you’ll be old enough to vote. Hopefully, by then, you would've forgotten the lyrics to Baby.

You may even vote for ugly people.

- Published in The New Paper, 24 April 2011

Hi Mr Ong.

I was quite enjoying your commentary on Bieber fever until I came to the part about artistes who cannot 'keep you interested for a lifetime'....and was shocked to find that you had lumped Jay Chou into the same category as Big Bang, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga...!

It makes me wonder if you really know Jay's history at all!

In a nutshell, he shook up the Chinese music industry with his original brand of pop waaay back in 2000, has released an album almost every year (all self-written!), won NUMEROUS awards for his songs, acted in movies, directed his own music videos and also a well-acclaimed movie (Secret), written goodness-knows-how-many songs for other artistes as well as for movies and is still going VERY strong.

He is the undisputed King of Mandopop in Asia and a wonderful role model who respects his elders, doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs and has a close-knit company which he set up with his longtime friends, JVR Music.

He recently won six awards at the inaugural Global Chinese Music Golden Chart Awards and is currently working on his next album and another movie with Nicholas Tse, directed by Dante Lam.

And he's just getting more and more fans over the years.

To top it off, when he first started out, he was deemed 'not handsome enough to be a pop star' but it was his music which enchanted the public then, is still doing so now and which has enabled him to do so many other things over the past TEN years.

His concert tickets sell like hot cakes (in Singapore last year, three nights of concerts sold out in five hours and left many disappointed fans still).

And you can bet his next concert will do even better!

Here's a feature on him in TIME from 2003:

Fast forward to 2009 and a very insightful interview on CNN:

For Jay and his fans, it's always been all about his music and I forsee that he'll go on for another good ten years, if not more.

I hope I've made my point.

Thanks for listening!