Posted by: dougery | December 14, 2012

Thoroughly Unnecessary Song Explication File #602: Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” (feat. Big Sean)


We all knew this day would eventually come.

Lately I’ve been inundated with totally real and in no way hypothetical emails accusing me of reverse sexism here on Thoroughly Unnecessary Song Explication Files.

“You only review the ladies,” they read. “What about the fellas,” you complain.

As you might imagine, this kept me up at nights. Men singing… popular music? You mean, like, Nickelback? I shuddered at the thought, pulled the goose-down comforter back over my head and lost consciousness to the narcotic mundanity of Ellie Goulding’s calming voice washing over me from The Spotify.

But then I remembered.

There was… one person… I could review.

A figure who commands a army of millions. A figure with… swagger.

I pictured him sitting atop a throne made of slain bodies and rejected paternity suits of his enemies. Not that he’d killed any of them himself, no, he’d never need to lift a finger. Just send out a distress call and they’d come flocking to his side.

The Beliebers.

I picture them being forged like the Uruk-hai from the Lord of the Rings movies. Justin would reach his hand down like Saruman, not into some pool of mud and filth, but into a tub of glitter and melted pink lip gloss. He’d lift them out and smile and say, “Hey, girl.” And the newborn belieber would then scamper off to its rightful place–Twitter, say, or an internet comment-board.

Beliebers defend their lord at the Battle of Helms Deep

Beliebers defend their lord at the Battle of Helms Deep

So without further ado I give you

“As Long as You Love Me” (feat. Big Sean)


As long as you love me (x3)

There are some songs that tell a story. Others describe a complex feeling that can only be properly explored through music. They open subtly, tentatively or else establish a vivid tableau that stuns the listener with bold metaphors. Still others begin with some jerk-off repeatedly whining the title of the very same song he’s only just begun to sing.

We’re under pressure
Seven billion people in the world trying to fit in

Sometimes I actually feel bad for the Biebs. So much pressure. All of those fans to keep happy… ah hell, I’m just messing with you, I could not care any less about this entirely prefabricated little pop-music wood-elf. Note that Justin here is not describing the pressure of ‘standing out,’ nor would he. No, his primary concern (for his listeners) is conformity. How to ‘fit in’ not ‘stand out.’ To be comfortable as just another face in the crowd. What a dick, this guy.

Keep it together
Smile on your face even though your heart is frowning

The ole frowning heart disease.

But hey now, you know, girl

No actually, we don’t know, so please, boy, do tell, dude, with as many commas, friend, as possible.

We both know it’s a cruel world
But I will take my chances

An old and effective trick. Put the ga-jillion dollar super-celebrity on the same footing as any of the random plebes in the audience. ‘We both know’ is a simple bit of bridgebuilding. I’m just like you! The world is cruel to both of us alike! We should totally hang out at the mall and commiserate over some Sbarro’s.


As long as you love me
We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke

This is some insufferable shit. Is this the ubiquitous fantasy of all the super-rich? To imagine themselves as suddenly destitute, with nothing but Love and their own honest-to-goodness god-given talents to get them through this ‘cruel world’? Because otherwise it is just really tacky. The worst thing, the most trying thing Justin can think of is not having any… stuff? Look at the depths he will sink to in order to be with you, girl.  Like having to go to Stop ‘n Shop all by himself. You know, starving.

As long as you love me
I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your gold

Several things about this line irk me. Firstly, the order. Platinum is more dear than gold is more expensive than silver, not your convoluted line-up that is reorganized just to fit the rhyme scheme. It’s not like ‘gold’ even rhymes with ‘broke’ anyways. If all you are looking for is the hard ‘oh’ sound, their might be a few thousand other one-syllable words to choose from.

Secondly, you just said that money, possessions, hell, even food doesn’t matter to love. So logically, the way to follow that up is to promise to be someone’s lump of precious metal. There are ways of undermining an argument, and then there is setting fire to your argument while stepping back to point your finger and laugh hysterically as your argument burns to the ground.

As long as you lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-love me (love me) x2

I like to think that the Biebs whispers the parenthetical ‘love me’ at the end of those two lines because he is honestly unsure if anyone understood the too-long, super-held-out trilling ‘love me’ that precedes it.


I’ll be your soldier
Fighting every second of the day for your dreams, girl

The only thing more tired and cliche (and mildly offensive) than when a sportscaster refers to a football game as a ‘war’ is when an 18 year-old singer equates romance with soldiering. Justin redeems himself with the second line (OK, not really redeems, but hear me out) which is my favorite lyric of the song because of it’s Gosling-esque nonsensical hilariousness. Hey, girl. I’m fighting for your dreams, girl. LOL. I have no idea what this even means.

I’ll be your Hova
You can be my Destiny’s Child on the scene, girl

Biebs is a chameleon, girl. From the cover of the single (see top of the post) where he’s trying so hard to be Elvis (can he even play the guitar?) to his days of bivouacking in the Love Army fighting for your dreams, girl. But why pretend to be Elvis when you can go straight to the cultural source Elvis so successfully co-opted to make all his money? Because there are no two people on Earth more similar than Justin Bieber and ‘Hova. Jay-Z would be the first person to admit this himself, I’m sure. And you, girl, are just like Beyoncé.  Totally the same thing.

So don’t stress, don’t cry, we don’t need no wings to fly
Just take my hand

Is this… a Peter Pan reference?


[Repeat Chorus]

[Big Sean]

Yo, B-I-G
I don’t know if this makes sense, but you’re my hallelujah

You’re right, that makes zero sense.

Give me a time and place, and I’ll rendezvous ya, and I’ll fly you to it,

‘Hallelujah’ rhymed with ‘rendezvous ya’. Sorry e’rybody, rap game = over. Big Sean won.

::drops mic and walks off WordPress::

I’ll beat you there
Girl you know I got you
Us, trust…
A couple of things I can’t spell without you

Here it sounds and feels like Big Sean is staggering and struggling just to get these lines out. Also, good point–I too spell ‘us’ and ‘trust’ as ‘yous’ and ‘tryoust’.

Now we are on top of the world, ’cause that’s just how we do
Used to tell me, “Sky’s the limit”, now the sky’s our point of view (view)

One of the most annoying ways a rapper can balance a line is to repeat the last word. I get it, you’re trying to go for some quasi-emphasis but all it reads as is laziness.

Man now we stepping out like, “Whoa” (Oh God)
Cameras point and shoot (shoot)

Less bothered by this repetition. In fact, it should have been built up even more, each ‘shoot’ a shot from a papparazzo’s camera, etc.


Ask me what’s my best side, I stand back and point at you

Romance, ladies. Can you just picture him leaning back with both hands as ‘guns’, index fingers extended, thumbs up in the air, guns pointing at you, girl. This is the David Caruso CSI:Miami one-liner of rap lyrics.



You, you the one that I argue with, I feel like I need a new girl to be bothered with,

Well that was… fast. One argument in and it’s time for a new girl, girl.

But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side,
It’s green where you water it

So true, Big Sean, the grass ain’t always greener on the other, wait, what’s this about watering the what now? I… think I’ve lost the train of thought to this metaphorical love garden. Let me just lay down some love fertilizer on that freshly upturned sod, girl.

So I know we got issues baby true, true, true,
But I’d rather work on this with you
Than to go ahead and start with someone new
As long as you love me

Blah blah blagghh, I never thought I would type this but I think I’m ready to go back to the Bieber…

[Repeat Chorus]

I was wrong. Not ready. Oh god, not ready. Big Sean? Big Sean, come back! I take it all back, I’ll rendezvous ya!


As long as you lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-love me (I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your gold)

what happened to platinum our romance credit rating has been downgraded aaaaaaahhhhh!


As long as you lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-love
As long as you love, love, love, love me

Just picture the Biebs as a pop music love robot whose programming has begun to run down. It stutters, extends lines for no reason, chops off others at random, repeats words incessantly.

As long as you love me (that’s all I want baby)
As long as you love, love, love, love me
As long as you love, love, love, love me
As long as you love me
As long as you love me

And if you don’t love him? Welp, I figure there’s a few tweens that would be more than happy to jump in.

Selena, you been warned.


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