The good, the bad and the ugly… popstars from Canada

There is a reason I dropped geography as a subject in school immediately I got the chance: my general knowledge about countries that aren’t named England is grievously poor. Name a country such as Canada to me, and I will astonish you with spews of general knowledge such as “I went to school with a Canadian once, his name was Nicholas, but it wasn’t spelt the normal way. I can’t remember how it was spelt, but it definitely wasn’t the normal way.”

I do have one well-informed piece of knowledge about Canada though: it is home to the peaks and pitfalls of modern music. That slab of poorly-shaped land slathered over the top of the USA is home to the possibly the most artistically revered band (Arcade Fire) and the most controversial popstar (Justin Bieber) of the 21st century.

And now, like all good bloggers, I am going to provide you with the main pointers for your next popmusicfromCanada-related conversation: the good, the bad and the ugly of Canadian pop music.

Good: Justin Bieber

It’s time we all accept that monsieur Bieber is an enormously talented popstar. Yes, he released some awful music at the age of 15, but frankly I doubt that the love songs Morrissey scribbled down in his gcse textbooks in year 11 were any more impressive. The fact is that Justin Bieber has the god-like ability to inspire complete adoration or bloodshot hatred in any normal person, to cause worldwide twitter trends with the click of his fingers and simultaneously inspire countless facebook hate-groups about the way in which he clicks his fingers. He may not have the physical singing talent of Adele, but his ability to cause such depth of emotion in his listeners (be it positive or negative) is no weaker than hers, and that can only be admired. On-top of that, anyone who criticises Bieber (or his mgmt, or the illuminati or whoever) for being predictable and clichéd, have a quick look at this photo-shoot

Bad: Avril Lavigne

As a punk singer, Avril was fine. Let’s not get into what kind of punk she was good at (it doesn’t take a genius to work out I’m not referring to the kind specialised in by the early Clash, or later Black Flag) but it was just fine, and to any kid wanting a gentle introduction to what rock music can be, she did a perfectly good job, acting as the proverbial gateway drug to rock music for countless 7 year-olds, myself included. And then she recorded this: From this moment there was no looking back, and Avril Lavigne the awful popstar was born.

Ugly: Carly Rae Jepsen

She’s done well for herself. In 2007, Jepsen came in third place in Canadian idol, and by complete accident got landed an astonishingly well-produced near perfect pop song. Written by a man not known for writing pop songs (Josh Ramsay) and released by a relatively small record label, it just caught on fire by accident. This might be the reason that so many aspects of the song are so shocking. Yes, it’s musically a near-perfect pop song, but the music video is comparable to Rebecca Black’s cultural touchstone of awfulness ‘Friday’ in terms of cringe-worthiness, and lyrics such as “Before you came into my life I missed you so bad” are literally illogical.

[I should just clarify, I’m not making any statement about whether Carly Rae Jepsen is attractive or not, or if Justin Bieber’s range is proffesionally impressive, the good/bad/ugly thing is purely in terms of them as pop stars, eg: the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video is no thing of beauty]