I have a lot of feelings today. I feel excited. I feel scared. I feel hopeful. I feel sad. I feel more than any of you ever have in your lives. And I hate feelings, TBH. They’re messy and difficult and it’s really hard to get work done when you want to run into the streets asking everybody you see, “You there, boy! What day is it?”
Because it’s better than Christmas Day, I’ll tell you that much.
It’s Bieber/One Direction release day.
That’s right: the only day in the history of time and space to matter. This is the Super Blood Moon equivalent of days in music releases/big moments in our planet’s narrative, and there’s not a goddamn cloud in sight. Right now, Canada’s own wee baby boy of pop (Justin Bieber) has clinched the #1 spot all over the world, while One Direction has released what might be their very last original album ever.
This is some real-life shit.
I shamelessly love both these acts. And I say that not as a disclaimer because I’m afraid of what you’re going to say in response to me naming two of my favourite pop acts, but because I want you to know that I will not apologize for enjoying music that makes me so happy. I dare you not to dance to “Sorry,” and if “Perfect” isn’t your new Twitter bio then we’ll never understand each other. (Even though it isn’t mine. Mine is exclusively reserved for like, “Hi, I’m a writer.” But whatever, this is my house and I’m the captain now.) We’re living in the goddamn golden age of pop music, and none of us are worthy of the Bieber/1D abundance of treasure.
And we have social media to thank for this enthusiasm. I’ve lived through the years of old-school album press tours (a.k.a. the real-life equivalent of the shrugging emoticon) and not knowing when records were going to drop, or who’s #1, or when so-and-so is retiring. When *NSYNC and BSB went away, they just . . . went away. And I had to hear about Geri Halliwell leaving the Spice Girls via my Dad, who read it in the newspaper, because why would I read it in the newspaper, I was 13 years old. If I was lucky, I’d see Nick Carter at MuchMusic courtesy of the television, and I bought fan books about my favourite artists and actors in an attempt to be close to them.
Now, we see it all go down in real time. First, we got to see Justin Bieber topple off of his throne and live among the rest of us as he figured out who he was, and why he was, and where it all went horribly wrong. Then, we got to watch 1D’s climb to the top, their evolution into grown dudes living life as a boy band, and finally their curtain call (where they’re promising they’ll be back, even though those of us who’ve lived through this before know what that means and that “back” could be 10 or 15 years from now). We’re afforded the luxury of joining them on their journey as opposed to running alongside it, and because of that, days like this — double release days and comebacks and goodbyes — are equal parts exciting and super-hard to process.
As a grown-ass woman, it’s tough to watch acts I love perform the way I expected my then-favourites to when I was 13. As a teenager, I was so blissfully unaware of the anxiety, stress, emotions, and upset that go along with living life in general, let alone as a famous pop star. I wanted my favourite bands to perform for me, and leave me feeling like I mattered and counted and contributed to this beautiful top 40 machine. Now, and with the addition of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever, it’s almost too real. I think of what the pressure to perform in front of thousands of people every night must be like, or how I feel when I’ve got too much work to do and a place to be at in a few hours, and how I’m going to not act like I want to scream at the sun, and then I wonder how these kids — or, well, I guess grown-ups — can do it without combusting. I do a lot less and I’ve combusted several times. And then I wonder if we’re just out to drain our favourite celebrities until they’re crying adult Backstreet Boys in documentaries, lamenting over things that went down ten years ago.
That’s what days like this make me think about. We’ve got a small-town kid staging a comeback at 21 (when I was 21, I was staging a comeback to the American Eagle associate roster after Christmas break), and four guys who spent the better part of their late teens/early 20s on the road, unable to stray from the agenda we demanded of them. But then they all still made music, and gave us albums, and are vying for number one, and it’s ridiculous. It’s nuts. It’s huge. And it’s probably not going to happen again for a very long time, because two ships rarely pass so closely in the night — and even more rarely do they turn their lights on to say “what’s up.”
So, yep. This is better than Christmas Day or any other holiday that inspires you to take to the streets after being visited by three ghosts. It’s Pop Music Day. Our Youth Revisited Day. A Huge Day in 2015. Or, more specifically, they day One Direction and Justin Bieber released albums in an attempt to duel for my life.
Because what I should’ve told you all at the beginning is that every song on those albums was written about me.