It’s no surprise that this lead single off Justin Bieber’s debut album, “My World 2.0,” is No. 1 on the most searched lyric chart. The up-tempo R&B number with doo-wop elements has become a worldwide Top 10 hit — and the Canadian-born teen pop idol’s highest-charting single in the United States — and its video is one of the most viewed in YouTube history. Could we chalk up its success to Bieber-licious dance moves in the video, or to the fact that he looks so “Baby”-ishly adorable, even while coming up a few inches shorter than his female lead?
Ludacris‘s rapid-fire rap on puppy love lends an ounce of urban street cred to a tune crafted by Christopher “Tricky” Stewart and Terius “The-Dream” Nash (co-writers of Bieber’s first hit, “One Time”) and Nash’s then-spouse Christina Milian. Bieber himself does a spot-on job on the track’s supple, R&B-steeped vocals, which recall the young Michael Jackson‘s emotion-packed falsetto. Though, word is that the 16-year-old sings the song live in a new key: His voice is changing, and he can no longer hit the high notes.
But puberty hasn’t completely put the kibosh on “Baby” — add Bieber’s attempts at moonwalking in the video, and fans scored a tune that directly taps into Jackson’s legacy. The allusion is not lost on Ludacris, who described the video as “a 2010 version of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel.'” Overshadowed by the performance and the effortlessness of the hook, the lyrics of “Baby” are nothing to write home about. They say nothing about JBiebz himself — but they may offer insight into all the fans on Team Bieber who want to be the parent-friendly idol’s baby.