Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are under fire as creators of “forgettable,” “amateur music” from veteran star Lionel Richie, not at all coincidentally just as dates and tickets for his UK tour of “All The Hits, All Night Long” are announced.
It’s a shameless tactic, one the Inquisitr highlighted when the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney reignited a Grammys-related feud over a dismissive dig he made about Bieber to TMZ last year, days before the release of their album Turn Blue.
At the time, Spin magazine reached the same conclusion.
— SPIN (@SPINmagazine) May 9, 2014
Put bluntly, Bieber and Cyrus are clickbait headline magnets due to their youth and water cooler-worthy antics, as media insiders cheerfully admit. And any celebrity who’s been in the game as long as Lionel Richie knows that if he mentions their names, his will be too.
Which means that when the 65-year-old singer baits publicity by declaring, “I’m going to judge you not by your popularity but by your longevity, your staying records. I’m thinking about Miley, Justin Bieber.”
Then tells London Evening Standard, “We’ve made amateur music mainstream. There’s a difference between a stylist and a singer. Everybody can sing! Go to karaoke, there are some guys seriously singing their asses off! But do they have a unique voice, or distinct voice?” — there is likely method at work.
The cynical reality is, if Richie’s comments had come at any other time than now — when he is promoting his tour — they could be taken on face value.
But they didn’t.
Despite Richie’s long established claim to fame, he is not a current star. And, like Sinead O’Connor, who made similarly timely comments about Bieber just as her latest album was released, the strategy of yesteryear stars using zeitgeist stars to grab a few column inches is nothing new.
Back in July, this point was noted by RYOT, writing:
“We also can’t ignore the possibility that Sinéad’s comments about Bieber could serve more than one purpose. After all, Sinéad is a respected performer, but from another era, having released her last music video in 1996.”
Then added, “By making controversial comments about someone with a profile as high as Bieber’s, Sinéad’s getting a little extra publicity, whether she meant to or not.”
Of Bieber — who has just been ranked as the third most powerful, young star with “gifted vocals” in Billboard’s “21 Under 21,” and whose 2010 My World 2.0, 2013 Believe Acoustic and Journals albums contain songs that loved by fans and some critics, and Cyrus, whose powerhouse voice blistered on 2013’s “Bangerz” — for what it’s worth, here are the rest of Richie’s synchronous remarks.
“The beautiful part of where we were, we had shock value,” Richie said, adding, “But what came with shock value was hit after hit after hit. Madonna was outrageous – but she had a catalog of music that was unbelievable.”
“At the end of all the theatrics with [MJ], he had nothing but the most fabulous catalog.”
He went on to say: “Now, we’ve got a lot of theatrics… but where’s the song that is going to stick around forever?… Twenty years from now, let’s take anybody – where’s the body of work? I’m going to judge you not by your popularity but by your longevity, your staying records. I’m thinking about Miley, Justin Bieber.”
And the tour, Lionel. Don’t forget the tour.