It’s Friday the thirteenth, the official release day for Purpose, Justin Bieber’s first album in three years. Bieber is now 21, and the album’s first two singles are both relatively low-key affairs that suggest that the singer’s more mature persona might actually pay off musically. He spent the last three years on the front pages of supermarket tabloids for all kinds of bizarre reasons, from serving as the butt of Martha Stewart’s icky prison rape jokes to his apparent secretly being related to fellow celebrity Canadians Avril Lavigne and Ryan Gosling.
Flashback to the summer of 2012, when Mitt Romney was a viable presidential candidate and Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” blared out of teenaged girls’ bedrooms windows across the land. That’s when the genealogy experts at Salt Lake City-based Ancestry.com went digging into Justin’s history and discovered that Bieber could be traced back to the same seventeenth-century couple as fellow heartthrob Ryan Gosling and “Sk8er Boi” singer Avril Lavigne. They even linked Bieber to Celine Dion, declaring that the two are in fact tenth cousins thrice removed.
All four celebrities are Canadians working in the entertainment industry, but before we get into conspiracy theories about the Canadian Illuminati, it’s probably worth pointing out that LOTS of people are tenth cousins thrice removed because, you know, families are sprawling that way. We just don’t normally take the time to figure out who our tenth cousins are. But let’s take a look to see whether we can pick up on any similarities between these distant relatives.
Justin Bieber was a precocious youth with a decent voice who made it onto TV. So was Ryan Gosling! The actor just turned 35, but let’s flash back to this episode of the Mickey Mouse Club where he showed Disney Channel viewers his hometown of Cornwall, Ontario.
Fondness For Electronic Music Trends
Justin Bieber has shown an interest in electronic music, working with producers Blood Diamonds and Skrillex on his new album, and also performing guest vocals on this summer’s big Jack Ü hit “Where Are Ü Now.” Avril Lavigne also has an interest in electronic music — or at least she recorded one deranged single with a dubstep part. The singer was first presented to the world as a punk, but more recently the 31-year old divorcée has been genre-skipping frantically while dodging gossip columnists curious about her breakup with the Nickelback guy.
“Hello Kitty” is a 2013 single that wasn’t very popular because, among other things, it came out several years after Gwen Stefani and Robyn had already exhausted the fetish for all things Japanese. One listen and you might understand the other reason why “Hello Kitty” didn’t work. It’s… amazingly abrasive, even from the shouty woman who yodeled her way through “I’m With You.”
Straightfaced Ventures Into Reggae
Justin only dabbled with reggae once, on the Christmas single “Mistletoe.” Bieber’s relative Celine Dion also dabbled with reggae once! Her female empowerment song “Treat Her Like A Lady” was a cover of a song by out lesbian Diana King. King also contributed vocals to DIon’s track, giving it a hilariously thin veneer of authenticity. It’s one of the kookier (and better) entries in the Dion songbook.
Bieber’s Purpose is out Friday. Hit singles “What Do U Mean” and “Sorry” have already given gossip columnists plenty to write about, the former sparking debate about consent and the latter reading as an apology for his bad behavior over the years. Pop relevance has never been Justin’s problem, though. Whether he’s flashing his junk in Bora Bora or twisting the panties of Metallica fans everywhere, Justin’s been an omnipresent force that will surely be around awhile, regardless of his new album’s musical merits. Hopefully you’re prepared to see more Justin in his underwear, too, since the singer so enjoys stripping down to his Calvins for both professional photo shoots and random dips into glacial lakes.