The Life Lessons and Sonic Treasures Hidden Inside the Music of Justin Bieber

Posted on September 21, 2010 by 2 Comments

I’m a man well into his 30s. So it should surprise no one that my music collection is relatively Justin Bieber-free. I say “relatively” because I came across a brilliant twist on The Bieb’s music recently that both blew me away and got me thinking about pushing limits and evolving in a creative environment.Justin Bieber

Last month, music producer Nick Pittsinger gained viral Internet fame when he used a free audio editing program called PaulStretch to slow down Justin Bieber’s song “U Smile” by 800 percent. The result, whether by accident or design, was a yawning, aching, spectacular soundscape that washes over you in waves and melts your brain into lava lamp globs. No joke. Put on the headphones, close your eyes … this song will make you fly. I promise.

Did Pittsinger know his experiment in sound would transform JB’s normally cavity-inducing, bubblegum pop into a soaring work of sonic art you could easily file alongside Sigur Rós or Dead Can Dance? I seriously doubt it. I mean, he knew he’d end up with something different. But I don’t think he could possibly have imagined the result would be as magical as it is.

At Waggener Edstrom, we put a lot of emphasis on creativity. And to achieve creative results, we often challenge ourselves to attack common ideas or problems from many different angles. Take something you know, turn it on its head or run it through various filters, and see what you come up with.

There’s no guarantee the time and energy you invest in creative experimentation will yield the “happy accident” outcome Pittsinger found. And when you’re as busy as we all are, setting off on potentially fruitless endeavors is difficult to justify. Still, as this song reminded me, unexpected and beautiful results often lie at the end of untraveled roads. If we’re going to find what’s there, we need to walk them.

Image by Daniel Ogren.

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Jessica Muir (@MuiracleWorker) on September 23, 2010

You’re right, the slowed-down version of JB’s song is beautiful. In fact, it really draws attention to the fact that the song actually carries a pleasant melody with notes and harmonies that are pleasing to the human ear(i hate to admit this as a non pop-music-lover, but it’s sorta true). Completely LOVE that this remix also gets people thinking about how to look at things from a different angle/perspective. Thanks for the post!

Kiersten Lawson on September 24, 2010

It’s a testament to *your* creativity, Chris, that you can draw a comparison between the sweeping emotional soundscapes of Iceland’s post-rock giants and Bieber’s commercial American pop.

I think this is also a great example of how powerful it is to tailor content for the audience at hand.

Thanks for sharing, Chris!

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