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10 Pop Songs That Are Overreaching
Justin Bieber's easier to handle when he's not singing about world peace.
By Amanda Green
One day you're just a kid with dreams, the next you've hit it big, played sold-out stadium tours, and your catchy if not-terribly-memorable songs run on loop in grocery stores throughout the land. And now, you wonder, what's next? You can find Jesus or star in a wacky comedy film, sure — or you can show the world your serious side and use your lyrical stylings to solve a real problem, like war or hunger or, you know like, really sad sadness. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work as well as you'd hoped. Here are ten pop songs that tried to save the world, but just ended up biting off more than they could chew.
1. Justin Bieber, "Pray"
Justin Bieber cares about things besides keeping his voice from changing and balancing sex appeal with a squeaky clean image. All the poor, dying people keep him up at night — and he's got the children's hospital ward video footage to prove it. In his most popular song, "Baby," he promises his girl "I'll buy you anything, I'll buy you any ring." But what does he have for the less fortunate? Prayers.
But I know there's sunshine beyond that rain
I know there's good times beyond that pain, hey
Can you tell me how I can make a change?
I close my eyes and I can see a better day I close my eyes and pray
Really, Justin? Those orphans and homeless veterans don't wanna play Connect Four and listen to your girl troubles. They need a portion of your haircut budget.
2. The Black Eyed Peas, "Where Is the Love"
The Black Eyed Peas introduced new member Fergie with this deep song about society's ills. It may read like a P.C. jump-rope rhyme some fourth-graders improvised, but I bet the school guidance counselor would be all over it.
To discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates...
Then they went back to business as usual, poaching hooks and beats from other artists to create hits like "Let's Get Retarded," "Don't Phunk With My Heart," and "Boom Boom Pow."
3. Insane Clown Posse, "Miracles"
Who knew that under all that makeup and horrorcore talk of cannibalism and necrophilia, the rappers of Insane Clown Posse were big softies? In "Miracles," the duo waxes poetically about all the wonders up in this bitch — childbirth, hot lava, and a pelican that tried to eat Violent J's cellphone.
Niagara falls and the pyramids
Everything you believed in as kids
Fucking rainbows after it rains
There's enough miracles here to blow your brains...
I see miracles all around me
Stop and look around, it's all astounding
Water, fire, air and dirt
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
Insane Clown Posse still seems a little menacing. I wouldn't want to be the science teacher explaining magnetic polarity to the guys who rapped, "I stab old people, ladies, little kids, I don't give a fuck! / I stabbed a fat guy in the butt (hehe), what?"
4. Christina Aguilera, "Beautiful"
Christina Aguilera needed a skanky transformation to distance herself from The Mickey Mouse Club. Her fourth album, Stripped, included highly sexualized videos, revealing artwork, and the single "Dirrty." But the newly branded Xtina wasn't just baring her body.
Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly, it's hard to breathe...
I am beautiful no matter what they say Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today
Fans sang along. Albums sold. Some thought, "Maybe you wouldn't feel so down about yourself, if you didn't wear leather lace-up chaps with a bikini top."
5. Katy Perry, "Firework"
Katy Perry has covered up her tits, dropped the innuendos, and would now like to talk to you about your self-worth. Especially if you're overweight, terminally ill, gay, or some sort of magician.
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?
Maybe that's how someone felt when Perry dissed him in the song, "Ur So Gay," with ego-boosting lines like, "I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf / While jacking off listening to Mozart."