James Corden's Soap Opera With Justin Bieber Lyrics Is A Huge Compliment To The Pop Star – VIDEO
Justin Bieber fans were in stitches Wednesday night when The Late Late Show showcased an art form it's hard to believe hasn't been created earlier: a five minute soap opera composed (almost!) entirely of Justin Bieber song lyrics. James Corden used Justin Bieber's lyrics to create the hilariously melodramatic, fiery dialogue between Selma Hayek, James Corden, Ray Romano and Gary Oldman in a fake soap opera, The Bold and The Lyrical, that centre on Selma Hayek's character's infidelities and attempts to juggle her three lovers. The use of Bieber's lyrics are spot on for the soap opera tonality.
The scene opens on Romano feeding Hayek a strawberry while telling her "If I were your boyfriend, I'd never let you go." When Corden bursts into the room and uncovers Hayek and Romano looking cosy, he enters with an alarmed "Baby?," prompting Hayek to respond "Baby!" pleadingly and Romano to exclaim "Baby?" Many of the songs referenced in the skit come from Justin Bieber's latest album Purpose; “What Do You Mean?,” “Sorry,” and “Love Yourself" lyrics were all used, and, given how personal Justin Bieber intended the album to be, the fact that they function perfectly for a cliched soap opera plot seems surprising. So why exactly are Justin Bieber's songs exactly right for TV melodrama? Let's explore.
Perhaps the key to this question is that genuinely great pop music takes something uniquely personal to the songwriter and transforms it into something with universal relevance. Think of the lyrics of the last 100 years' most enduring pop tracks. Whether you're thinking of something classic like The Beatles' "Love Me Do" or something more contemporary, like Destiny's Child's "Survivor," the lyrics are often almost ridiculously general: "Love, love me do/You know I love you/I'll always be true/So please, love me do." Great pop lyrics key into universal impulses: our need to have our love/lust matched by the object of our desire, or, as in the case of "Survivor," the way when things get tough, you've got to bring it.
This is the same driving force behind soap opera dialogue. The most addictive shows feature dialogue that, while far more dramatic than anything we'd experience in real life, key into the same fears and desires that motivate every one of us: love, lust, jealousy, and insecurity. As such, it's no insult to Bieber's skills as a lyricist that his work can be so effortlessly converted into the back and forth between some melodramatic lovers; it's actually a massive compliment. And, as for Corden's manipulation of the dialogue for extra laughs, think of the wonderful moment where Hayek and Romano lean towards each other and exchange the word "Swag." This line isn't uniquely silly in itself, but is funny due to context, so hats off to Corden's mad skillz with comic timing.
Soap operas also are entirely structured around tension and conflict. Why? Not because this is how daily life is, but because this creates a storyline gripping enough to keep people hooked. As such, you could argue that Corden's tribute to Bieber's genius is almost entirely complimentary, since it also showcases how good Bieber is at crafting a storyline out of a few lines of verse. There's no guilt in watching this, Beliebers: enjoy a good belly laugh and celebrate the intrinsic genius of Justin Bieber all at once.
Images: The Late Late Show with James Corden (2)/Youtube; Giphy