An epigraph that opens “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” comes from a 2010 conversation between Justin Bieber and a reporter with Interview magazine. “I want my world to be fun,” the Biebs told the journalist. “No parents, no rules, no nothing. Like, no one can stop me. No one can stop me.”
On its surface, this statement couldn’t be more pedestrian — what 16-year-old doesn’t want his freedom, and who, for that matter, doesn’t want to have fun? Upon closer scrutiny, cracks appear, as well as a hint of sadness. Who’s trying to stop Justin Bieber? Who would try and stop one of America’s most commercially successful recording artists, plucked as a preteen from the torpors of an anonymous childhood to the Olympus of celebrity on the merits of his dance moves and his sweet, sweet voice? More importantly, is Justin Bieber having any fun?