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Stuff for the Teen Age
Pop Culture Match-Up: Paramore Fans vs. Justin Bieber Fans
Paramore or Justin Bieber?
Whose fans would win in a head to head match-up? And, are they really that different?
In 2009, both Paramore and Justin Bieber had hit albums that made it onto the Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List. Paramore with Brand New Eyes and Justin Bieber with My World. They both also have rabid fan bases. When I picture a stereotypical Paramore fan I think Doc Marten boots, black jeans, rings, maybe some piercings and I imagine she is someone who isn’t afraid of a little hair pulling or fisticuffs – in other words, she can hold her own. Whereas I picture a stereotypical Justin Bieber fan as more Keds, American Eagle blue jeans and a charm bracelet or two--not that these accessories make her meek. In fact, as tough as a Paramore fan is, I am fairly sure that even she isn’t brave enough to stand the gauntlet between Justin Bieber and a Bieber fan as she climbs, crawls and launches herself off any obstacle in her way to get to him.
At the recent Stuff for the Teen Age reception, a librarian innocently mistook a Keds wearing teen girl and Paramore fan for a Justin Bieber fan and the look of revulsion on her face was classic. The very idea that someone like her could be confused as a fan of Justin Bieber was abhorrent to her. But what’s the big deal anyway? Does it really matter? It’s all just pop music right? Well, sorta but I am sure there is a way to bridge the pop music divide.
To be clear, a Paramore fan is really a fan of lead singer Hayley Williams. The hard charging, female, orange and yellow haired lead singer of the Tennessee pop-punk band. For the uninitiated, think Gwen Stefani meets Shirley Manson. She sings and writes songs about love, misery, parties and relationships with a strong female voice and more than the occasional angry sneer. Justin Bieber, a Canadian, with big eyes and great hair that sweeps across his forehead found fans through his debut album that was produced by R&B singer Usher. He sings with a plaintive, sincere voice about love, misery, parties and relationships.
So, in the end, the fans and the music aren’t so far apart. Can the fans of Paramore and Justin Bieber be mistaken for each other and not cause offense? Can you be a fan of both at the same time? Can the music of both artists coexist freely on the same ipod playlist? And the answer is, of course! It is really all a question of mood. If you are kicking your snake of a boyfriend and the girl he cheated with to the curb or revving up for an awesome road trip put on Paramore but if you are longing for your crush or getting ready to kiss someone in the moonlight (or just wishing), then Justin Bieber just might be the right song choice.
See? Peace and harmony among pop music fans. Problem solved.
Next pop-culture fan match-up I want to see in 2010? Dashboard Confessional vs. Death Cab for Cutie. An emo fan match-up for the ages. I picture lots of singing aloud of sensitive lyrics, lots of shaggy hair and plenty of plaid shirts and converse sneakers. Awesome.