amazing icon

Sound And Vision: Why Bieber Fever Can't Touch Beatlemania?

Don’t believe everything you read.

No matter what the media say”and for more than a year now, they’ve been declaring Justin Bieber as big as, if not bigger than, the Beatles”Bieber Fever is no match for Beatlemania. Even if Bieber’s new holiday album, Under the Mistletoe, which was released November 1, ends up being the biggest one ever (the first single, “Mistletoe,” just debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 11, immediately making it the seventeen-year-old’s biggest solo hit yet), remember this: The Beatles never released a Christmas album. (Thank God!)

Obviously, Bieber Fever does have one thing in common with Beatlemania, a movement launched by The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 that continued long after the Beatles broke up in 1970: girls, girls, girls (all screaming at the top of their lungs). They are the cornerstone of Bieber’s success, but Beatlemania involved so much more than overzealous female fans caught up in the rapture of hot musical act.

Thanks to his largely underage female following, Bieber does reasonably well commercially, though he lacks the opening-week clout of Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne or even Coldplay (to name the artists behind the Top 3 debuts of 2011). In the US, he’s sold some 5 million copies of one full-length studio album, three compilations and one EP. That may barely be on par with the sales standards set by pop’s top divas, but it would put him in the running for modern pop’s most commercially viable male star.

Still, Bieber is no chart phenomenon. For all of the hysteria he spawned in his first two and a half years in circulation, he only hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 twice in his first eight tries. The highest-peaking of those was “Baby” (No. 5 in 2010), and both were collaborations with rappers (Ludacris on “Baby,” Jaden Smith on “Never Say Never”), which means Bieber has yet to score a massive hit based on his star power alone.

(more…)

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

New Muppets film to feature Lady Gaga, Jack Black, Dave Grohl

Last time we saw the Muppets, they were busy reuniting Gonzo with his alien family in Muppets From Space. Who knows what sort of crazy capers they’ll undertake in the new Muppets movie, currently in production. What we do know is that Jason Segel wrote the script and Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Lady Gaga and Ricky Gervais will all reportedly make an appearance. Grohl will step in for Animal behind the drum kit. No word on what role Gaga will be playing. Our guesses are either Janice’s long lost sister or a Kermit-obsessed version of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

Amy Winehouse nets $1.55 million for private concert

Amy Winehouse delivered a two-hour private performance to Russian businessmen”her first full singing gig in two years. The price tag? A cool $1.55 million. One member of the crowd called her performance fantastic. They drink a lot of vodka in Russia, right? Just asking.

The Bad

Captain Beefheart dies

Captain Beefheart, an influential icon of the ˜60s psychedelic scene, died from complications of multiple sclerosis this week. He was 69. Beefheart, born Don Van Vliet, garnered attention for the often eccentric, always innovative rock he created with his Magic Band, a rotating roster of musicians. Beefheart spent his later years as a reclusive painter in California. R.I.P.

Kings of Leon’s tour bus catches on fire

Kings of Leon had to cancel their concert at London’s O2 arena on Tuesday after two tour buses caught fire in the loading area of the venue and were burned out completely. Six people were treated for smoke inhalation. No word on the source of the inferno, but reportedly the band’s sex is on fire, so you do the math.

The Ugly

Lady Gaga bites head off Santa

Ozzy Osbourne will forever live in infamy for once biting the head off a bat in concert. Now Lady Gaga has her own tale of stage carnage to add to her legacy. At a show in London last Friday, a fan threw a stuffed Santa Claus doll onto the stage. Gaga responded by biting into its neck while shouting, I hate the holidays. I’m alone and miserable you fucking stuffed little toy. After beheading St. Nick with the heel of her shoe, the singer resumed her performance. And that, little children, is how Santa Claus died.

Miscellany