Justin Bieber’s “Confident” – An Analysis

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February 2, 2014 by Roe

It is interesting to note that in the midst of Justin Bieber’s most recent legal woes, a few days ago his music video was released for his latest single, “Confident”. Though my views on “The Biebs” are not homicidal like some, I am nonetheless slightly suspicious. Could his rebellious misbehavior possibly stem from his Grammy invitation getting “lost in the mail”? Let’s just say I hope his “megarich-young-popstar-celebrity-gone-wild” antics which have been capturing so much media attention, are not some overextended way to promote his new single or a cracked-up scheme to get us (the public) reinterested in his music career…What’s left of it, anyway. Perhaps à la Chris Brown? Of course I can’t find the original article I read, but there was a conspiracy theory floating around somewhere circa March of 2011 that it wasn’t some ex-ladyfriend who leaked that sext but rather Chris Brown himself, all in order to generate attention to promote his upcoming album ‘F.A.M.E.’ Pretty peculiar way to go about it but whether true or not, it did get everyone talking. And what major label doesn’t have their panties in a proverbial bunch about album sales, even in the 21st century? Despite the kind of contract he has, even Chris Brown knows more album sales means more money which means more time driving in his yellow Lamborghini, etc. Besides he gets what you get in two years, in two days…Even if it means purposefully circulating a nude picture of himself to boost album sales. But back to Biebs – Truth is, had he not been causing such a ruckus lately I probably wouldn’t have paid attention when I heard or read somewhere about this jewel of a music video. After watching it, I knew I couldn’t let it go. I had to talk about it. So let’s dive in, shall we?

“Confident” – An Analysis

Act I

A slightly ominous scene. Blue light, car screeching to a halt, a car horn in motion, door slam. In walks a girl who catches Bieber’s eye. He’s on an important phone call (probably with his lawyer…or his weed dealer. It’s a toss up. PLOT TWIST – Could it be the same guy? Moving on -) and he eyes her – like a predator. Put your claws up, feminists! But she’s confident. And you can see that by her midriff-revealing outfit, the way she walks, and how she tosses her hair back. After she leaves the frame he hangs up immediately, staring after her, then following her, quickening his pace with each step. Okay and THEN the music comes in.

Catchy. I agree. But this boyband stance going on with this lighting and strange bouncing from side-to-side, I feel like I’m trapped between a Backstreet Boys and an R. Kelly video. Where am I? What just happened?

We see the girl Bieber is pursuing enter a rather shady convenience store, which BY THE WAY if you look to the window of the door, it is completely PITCH BLACK. Kind of makes me question her safety a little bit, not gonna lie. I don’t care how bad you need a soda at 3 AM. Wait it out ’til daylight, honey. But I digress.

Then BIEBS:  Don’t do it to me.

Could be jumping the gun, but could this be a cry for Bieber’s fear of rejection? This girl is confident, right? That means she’s not timid and shy but is assertive and unafraid. She’s not like those other girls who just “yes” Bieber at his every whim. Or could it be a demand? As in, “You will not reject me. Don’t do it…or else”. We watch him follow her into this creepy convenience store. The latter is looking like a stronger possibility.

And I feel as these “Don’t do it to me”s go on, the more his vocal style is slowly morphing into Drake? Also, notice the ‘stache?

We’ve now traveled from the boyband warehouse, to the gas station/convenience store, now to a strange tunnel sidelit by fluorescent lights. But it’s really dingy and scummy, kind of like we’re walking around in an air conditioning unit or a freezer of some sort. Is this an interrogation tunnel?

BIEBS: Focused, I’m focused. She got a body like that I ain’t never seen nothing like that.

Biebs surely is focused. He’s creeping uncomfortably close behind her, looking at her behind but also acknowledging the camera.

BIEBS: Like a fantasy in front of me. I think that something special is going down.

Girl hasn’t even acknowledged his presence (because she’s confident) and he’s pretty much calling her backside view a “fantasy” and is convinced something special is “going down”. How about you introduce yourself or maybe look her up tomorrow and ask if she wants to get lunch?

BIEBS: That’s right I think she foreign, think she foreign. Got passports. Mi amor started slow, got faster. She gon’ work some more, work some more. No stopping her now, no stopping her now.

Okay a few things. He’s guessing she’s foreign, has passports from her many travels (because why would she have more than one?). At “mi amor”, we suddenly see neon lettering indicating perhaps an oriental shop. Are we in Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Japan? All I know is we are not in any Spanish-speaking countries. I think the sexual innuendo thereafter speaks for itself, but if we wanted to take it to the literal level we could say she is traveling for business (not pleasure) – Her career started slow, then sped up. Now she’s continuing to work with no end in sight because she is confident and focused on her career. “No stoppin’ nah nah”, or so we hear. But this girl ain’t wearin’ a power suit, so I’m kind of not buying it.

BIEBS: Then she started dancing, sexual romancing. Nasty but she fancy. Lipstick on my satin sheets.

Clearly, we know were Bieber’s mind is.

BIEBS: What’s your nationality? I wonder if there’s more of you. She’s got my attention, she’s confident.

Hold up. First off, just because we’re from a certain country doesn’t mean we’re all the same. For example, just because Justin Bieber is from Canada doesn’t mean I hold the same opinion for all Canadians based on the one I have of Bieber. I’m pretty sure almost all Canadians are not substance-abusing, disrespectful, drag-racing, house-egging, law-breaking, belligerent misogynists. But there is Rob Ford, so maybe I should stop right there.

I also want to point out my personal conspiracy theory that Justin Bieber replaced Jesse McCartney in the music industry, more specifically the category of “white-kid-popstar-who-grows-up-to-be-teenage-heartthrob”. Especially with this foreign, national, international, word droppings. Like in “Body Language“? Remember that one? But Jesse McCartney had way more class than this. Whatever happened to him anyway?

I also love how Bieber is assuming she’s confident when not a word has been spoken! Face it, Biebs – She has your attention because of her physique and her sexuality. Why don’t you engage her in conversation? I’m sure she’d love to get to know you, not play hide and seek in grocery store aisles and make weird faces at each other.

Intermission

Ah, yes. The painful acting scene. First off, we find what she finally came in to buy at this ungodly hour – Takis, which I recently found out may cause cancer and ulcers?! Maybe this girl is just confidently pursuing a late-night death wish. I mean, she didn’t even get a drink! And Takis are made by a Mexican company, perhaps more in the vein of the “Mi amor” line we heard earlier. Seems a little out of place in an Asian speciality store. But this girl is so confident, she is going to pay for her cancer snacks even if that means rudely waking up the clerk by lifting his visor and obnoxiously going, “Hiii”. Poor dude should’ve just closed up shop when he had the chance. I actually thought the clerk was a member of Daft Punk making a cameo. His bald head and visor looked just like one of their helmets.

Also, he’s wearing sunglasses? In this dark? Turn on a light!

Then IN COMES JUSTIN freaking whistling like Tweety Bird and licking his lips?! Things just got even creepier, ladies. The dialogue is as follows:

BIEBS: What’s up?

GIRL: [gushing] Hi.

BIEBS: How ya doin’?

GIRL: Good.

BIEBS: Um, I’m Justin, first of all. I saw you walking by. [awkwardly shake hands]

GIRL: Lynn. [bites fingernails]

BIEBS: What’s your name?

LYNN: Lynn.

BIEBS: Lynn. [Voice slightly cracking out of ignorance] Are these Takis? I love Takis. No, I’m just kidding. What are Takis?

LYNN: They’re like little taquitos.

BIEBS: Oh…I’d like to “Taki” to you on the phone, so I need your number.

This was probably the whole point of these weird cancer snacks being such a crucial part of this video.

LYNN: [cackles then serious] I think you’re going to need to try harder than that.

BIEBS: [stares after LYNN, flabbergasted at her confidence]

Was this written by a 12-year-old girl? All my cringe-feels just burnt themselves out just from bearing witness to this “TAKI” scene! What are we watching? A middle school play?

BIEBS: Oh no no, oh no no. She’s confident. Oh no no, oh no no. And I’m down with it. Oh no no, oh no no. She’s confident. You could tell by the way she walks in the room.

Okay, so is he dismayed that she’s confident? Like, “Oh no, she’s confident. Damn. Now I’ll never get her in my pants. This is more difficult than I anticipated”. Or is it more like,”Oh. No, she’s confident. I was right and therefore I will pursue her”. As in an utterance, as if there were some lingering uncertainty, and then the affirmation. “And I’m down with it” – Is he upset at himself for being into her confidence? So used to low-hanging fruit he can’t believe he’s actually okay with pursuing a confident girl? Or I guess he could be just genuinely saying, “Yeah. I like how she’s confident. I’m into that”. So far the former seems most likely.

I also want to comment here on these choreography scenes we’re being subjected to. I can hang with the moves. Except the one where Bieber is straight up acting like Toad from Mario Party. Is this some sort of subliminal message still connecting his career to his childhood beginnings? What is happening?

Act II

There’s still dancing in the shady warehouse lighting, closeups on Justin every once in awhile. But don’t worry – There’s some plot movement ahead.

BIEBS: She said it’s her first time. I think she might’ve lied. Feels so good damn, and I don’t know why I’m addicted, something like an addict. Got me twisted, but still I gotta have it.

For Act II, I think it’s imperative we just accept all innuendos as is. There are no alternative meanings here. Bieber has made it very clear through vocal tones, dance moves, and word choices. We know what this song is really about – sex.

Breaking hearts, taking virgins. (But maybe not since she “might’ve lied”. Damn those malicious, confident women!) Clearly Justin is going through some tougher issues than we thought. He’s admitting his sex addiction (which is always the first step in overcoming it), feeling slightly confused by it, but as any addict knows, at the end of the day he still needs his fix.

BIEBS: Explosive, explosive (I could still smell her perfume). It’s not hard to notice that I’m open, hypnotized by the way she moves.

We can only hope that this first line does not refer to a nasty bathroom incident, perhaps after sharing a bag of Takis. Also, what part of Justin is open? His mind, his heart? Either way, he’s still “hypnotized” by this girl which is now understandable after his self-diagnosis of sexual addiction.

Now Justin is stalking Lynn through the alleyways with his posse/gang of dancers behind him for back up. (What is this? West Side Story?) Notice the homeless bystander bidding watch. I would start walking a little faster, Lynn. Your safety is seriously compromised.

BIEBS: Then she started dancing, sexual romancing. Nasty but she fancy, Mona Lisa masterpiece. What’s your nationality? I wonder if there’s more of you. She’s got my attention, she’s confident.

Leo

Y’all don’t know jack about Mona

What would Leonardo da Vinci say? …Really.

When Lynn finally gets on her motorcycle are rides on out of there, we are temporarily fooled that she has finally escaped the clutches of the Biebs. But, no. He starts running after her, continuing his predatorial sport. Girl should file a restraining order.

SCENE CHANGE: Now we’re in some sort of underground club, slow motion dancing, young people, and Justin grinning like he’s saying hi to someone he knows. (But deep down we know he just got there and his social greeting is really to no one. Off-camera some girl is probably looking behind her to see who he’s acknowledging…Only to find no one there). And as if it all couldn’t get worse, we are interrupted and annoyingly reminded that by Chance the Rapper’s startling adlib and that he has not said his piece yet. And here it is:

CHANCE: Tattoos, piercings and she just learned to twerk. She ain’t gotta heart or an ass, just her brain’s got an ass cause her ass on a learning curve. And she love to hurn the berb, I mean burn the word. That’s only legal with a doctor’s note. Real deep pockets like a doctor’s coat. Stay faded like Diddy’s hair, back tryna’ rock the vote. She the first mate when I rock the boat. She never forget to ride like a bicycle. She like planes, trains, chains with icicles. It goes her, blank, blank, and rock & roll She say “I know, honey bunny, that’s the funny thing” Thots twerk for the Goodfellas, she money dance with the money team. IGH!

Where to begin? First off, I’m not sure if Chance is rapping or giving a presentation. I like to think of Hip-Hop as an art, but Chance’s delivery is seriously lacking here. This was my first time listening to Chance and I gotta say, I’m not really impressed. “She ain’t gotta heart or an ass, just her brain’s got an ass cause her ass on a learning curve”. Aside from this rhyme being weak, it also doesn’t make sense literally, metaphorically, or even in an innuendo context. Like I get what you’re trying to say, Chance but I don’t think it came out the way you intended. Also, not only has Chance just offended the entire female population be negating the existence of a heart (and to some, negating the existence of what their momma gave them), but he just made an ass of himself – the only one in the situation. And the Diddy shoutout? Who has ever given Diddy a shoutout post-1997? He doesn’t need or deserve it. Stop kissing ass. It’s embarassing. The only thing he’s famous for now is having a cameo appearance in Ciroc commericals. (I never realized Aaron Paul was in there too..damn) At least she’s elevating this girl a little bit by not associating her with  a “THOT” (That HOver There), though I would have to ask Chance personally how this exactly differs from doing a “money dance with the money team”. Kiiiinda of sounds like the same thing to me.

Meanwhile, Justin is still at this club and we see him spot someone or something. He widens his eyes and starts to walk across the room…creepily licking his lips again. And, oh my gosh! It’s Lynn…in a car…inside the club? I’m not exactly understanding how the car came in, but I digress. And he forcingly pins her up against the car and stares her down.

Completely normal for a complete stranger, right? Lynn laughs awkwardly, the party continues around them, everyone jumping up and down in slow motion. Will they kiss?…And yes they do, after a strange flash of faces and images leading up to this culminating moment.

BIEBS: Can I get your number now?

LYNN: [laughs bashfully] Yes.

[They kiss again]

We close the scene hearing fireworks in the distance; Everyone is expressing jubilance that Justin and Lynn have finally formed their covenant of everlasting love.

THE END

*********************************************************************

TAKEAWAYS

POSITIVES: The song itself is pretty catchy and I will admit that Biebs looks good. Choregraphy (aside from the Toad moments) was on point too.

MY BEEF: Biebs’ good looks are automatically cancelled out by his douchebaggery and slightly predatorial antics and word choices. What genuinely concerns me is how these messages of “female pursuit” if you will, will translate almost by osmosis through the pop culture bubble and into our social sphere. This music video/song (and of course, many others that have similar themes of sex in the male perspective) seem to encourage forceful pursuit of women and put women in a position feeling they have to say yes, especially when the man persistently pursues. This should never be thought of as an absolute truth.

CONCLUSION: To Bieber fans who feel I am taking this too seriously, all I have to say is more often that not pop culture informs society and society then acts on that information whether it be in positive or negative light (and sometimes without people even realize they are acting on it). With Bieber’s fanbase being a young demographic in general, I believe it is important to uphold an active dialogue about these things so that young men understand there are more gentlemanly ways to pursue women and a pursuit does not guarantee anything, nor should men feel entitled to a woman he sets his eye on; and young women should understand that it’s okay to say no and just because a man pursues you, he should not make you feel obligated to accept his advances. Though I based the foundation to this analysis in a comical light, this is fiction, this is dramatized, and this is not reality so do not take it as such – A perspective many often forget when listening to songs, viewing movies and TV, and when watching music videos. Seeing this video propelled me to analyze and put down my thoughts after laughing over the ridiciulousness of this plot (or lack thereof) and concept of a video. If “Confident” is any indication of how Bieber acts and reacts in real life, it is no wonder he is having so many psychological issues – many of which are rearing their heads in the form of illict activities and seem to be clashing with the United States Legal System.

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