Channel Awesome
What Do You Mean? vs. Stitches

What Do You Mean vs Stitches by krin.jpg

Date Aired
November 20, 2015
Running Time
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Todd plays "What Do You Mean?" on the piano...


...holds it...


...and plays "Stitches."

A pop song(s) review

Todd: It''s what, 2015, right? 2015, almost 2016. We have to start dealing with the fact that Justin Bieber is still here.

Clip of "Baby" ft. Ludacris
Justin: Oh-a-a-a-a-a

Todd: [demonic voice] Biiiieeeebbbbbeeerrrr. Eh, okay, fine.

Todd (VO): He's not Bieber anymore, he's just regular Justin Bieber. The time to hate...

Todd: ...Justin Bieber has passed.

Clip of "One Time"

Todd (VO): I mean, yeah, I still have some residual hate left over for the little punk, but most of that was based on who he was back, like, five years ago. We all remember what it was like, we all hated him. And yes, it may have been a tiny bit overblown. But let's not forget that he was, in fact, the worst.

Justin: Whatever you want, shorty, I'll give it to you

Todd (VO): The worst. He was just this unbearable little turd who sang things like "shawty" in the whitest, lamest way possible.

Todd: But you know, what more could you expect? He was...what, 14? Of course he was obnoxious; his balls hadn't dropped yet.

Clip of Jack Ü (Skrillex and Diplo) with Justin Bieber - "Where Are Ü Now"
Justin: Can't deny it

Todd (VO): It's 2015 now. Bieber's a lot older, he's changed, and...yeah, I'll admit he's gotten a lot better, so I wanna give him credit for that. Yes, he may have started out the most insufferable little shit in music, but over time,...

Todd: ...I think he's actually become very...dull and uninteresting.

Clip of "Boyfriend"

Todd (VO): Seriously, he's a completely flavorless singer, he adds absolutely nothing to a song, he's a non-entity.

Todd: Which is an improvement.

Todd (VO): But, you know, who cares anymore? I certainly haven't in a long time. And I think Bieber must have sensed that apathy building up, because as he's become a less hateable singer, he's made up for it by being a much more hateable person.

Clip from ABC News
Judge: Mr. Bieber, you are charged with the following: DUI, alcohol or drugs...

Todd (VO): If you remember, Justin Bieber had an absolutely miserable 2013, when it seemed like he was just determined to put himself in the ugliest light possible. It was almost like a joke, week after week, month after month, [clip from Fox News and cover of tabloid: "Bieber Goes Bonkers"] headline after headline of Justin Bieber being a douche. It seemed pretty certain that he was heading towards either the saddest or the funniest episode of Behind The Music ever.

Todd: And you could tell that the music industry felt the same way 'cause they were scrambling to find a replacement for when Bieber completely flamed out.

Clip of Cody Simpson - "Pretty Brown Eyes"

Todd (VO): But it turns out, finding a marketable teen idol is actually kinda difficult, because no one ever managed to find a solo act that could take Bieber's place. Not sure why, they certainly tried several times.

Todd: I guess they just never found someone with Bieber's star quality.

Clip of Austin Mahone ft. Pitbull - "Mmm Yeah"
Austin: Mmm mmm, yeah yeah
Mmm mmm, yeah yeah
Mmm mmm, yeah yeah

Todd: Uhh...

Todd (VO): I don't know. This kid's face is pretty punchable.

Todd: But is it punchable enough to make him a superstar?

Clip of Shawn Mendes - "Something Big"

Todd (VO): But it looks like finally, finally, the music industry has managed to get a potential teen idol some traction.

Shawn: Something big I feel it happening

Todd (VO): This kid is 17-year-old Canadian singer Shawn Mendes. Oh, man, I wanna kick this kid right in the balls. If I already hate him that much, that means we must finally have our new Bieber. All hail the new teenybopper superstar.

Todd: Just one problem—Justin Bieber is still here.

Video for "What Do You Mean?"
Justin: What do you mean

Todd (VO): That's right. Somehow, Bieber's career survived, all indications to the contrary. I certainly didn't expect him to outlast One Direction, I'll tell you that much.

Video for "Stitches"

So now we have two of them. Two Biebers. This is what we in the music business call...

Todd: ...the doomsday scenario. I suggest [puts a pot on his head and cocks a toy shotgun] stocking up on canned goods.

Todd (VO): So that's where we are. Bieber, even with the new competition, is still going. So now we have two Top 10 hits by two squeaky-voiced Canadians. "What Do You Mean?" by Bieber, and "Stitches" by Mendes. [Brief clip of The Weeknd - "The Hills"] And I guess there's a third squeaky-voiced Canadian, but we've already covered that.

Todd: Well, you know I am always willing to give anyone a fair shot, even if it's Justin Bieber or a low-rent clone of such. So let's see what we got here. And...let's start with the devil we know. Take it away, Biebs.

Man (John Leguizamo): You got what's mine
[Justin looks around and hands the man a large wad of money]

Todd (VO): Whoa, what? Why is John Leguizamo here? Is this gonna turn into John Wick 2?

Inside a motel room, a girl (Xenia Deli) waits. Someone knocks on the door. She goes to answer. Cut to Bieber.
Justin: What do you mean?

Todd (VO): Well, that was a lot of buildup for a very low-key song. That was kind of an anticlimax. Boy, I hope that cameo got Leguizamo enough money to finally make [poster of the original...] The Pest 2.

Justin: Hey yeah
When you don't want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?

Todd (VO): So this song is, uh...

Todd: ...yeah, really boring. So pretty much exactly what I expected from Bieber; I've got nothing to say about this. Uh...never mind, let's check out the new kid.

A certain instrument plays

Todd (VO): Wait a minute. What's that I'm hearing? Oh, no. No!

Clip of performance on Live with Kelly and Michael
Shawn: You watch me bleedin' 'til I can't breathe

Todd: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Todd (VO): When I was a kid, the slam against teen pop was, "they don't even play their own instruments or write their own songs!" I don't know why we always said that, because for some reason, a teen singer who did play an instrument was always, always a billion times worse. Oh, God, there were a bunch of them. [Clips of "Back Here" by...] BBMak, [..."On the Way Down" by...] Ryan Cabrera, [...and "For You I Will" by...] Teddy Geiger!

Teddy: Alright...

Todd (VO): Ugh! All awful.

Todd: I don't know, maybe this kid is better.

Shawn: You watch me bleed until I can't breathe
I'm shaking, fallin' onto my knees
And now that I'm without your kisses
I'll be needin' stitches

Todd: [face buried in hands] Oh my God, I hate this! Ohhh!

Todd (VO): I don't know if anyone else is gonna have the instant negative reaction that I have, but...okay, look at this.

Clip of *NSYNC - "It's Gonna Be Me"
*NSYNC: That's why it's gonna be me

Todd (VO): I don't like this song. Didn't like it then, don't like it now. Backstreet all the way. But it is what it is, you know. It's...

Todd: ...pure bubblegum. Nothing wrong with that.

Todd (VO): But songs like this Shawn Mendes thing are like [pictures of Dubble Bubble and...] bubblegum that was hidden in a sandwich. At least your average white guy with acoustic guitar is sincerely trying to fake sincerity to get into a girl's pants. These teen pop artists...

Todd: ...are a corporate marketing department pretending to be pretending to be sincere.

Shawn: I'm without your kisses
I'll be needing stitches

Todd (VO): Good gravy, this is awful. The production is dull, the singing is boring, the hook is practically nonexistent. How the living crap did this make the Top 10?

Todd: I can't deal with this. Back to Bieber.

Todd (VO): Okay, what is this song even about?

Justin: What do you mean?
Ohh ohh ohh
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
Hey yeah
When you don't want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?

Todd (VO): Okay, well, I see that Justin Bieber has discovered the joy of trying to interpret mixed signals. Poor kid sounds pretty frustrated. This girl, you know, she keeps going back and forth, she can't decide. You know...

Todd: ...she seems to make decisions at random. You know, kinda like a...

Clip of "Eenie Meenie"
Justin: Shawty is a eenie-meenie-miney-mo lover
Shawty is a eenie-meenie-miney-mo lover

Todd: Yeah, you see what I mean about him improving, right?

Justin: What do you mean?
Ohh ohh ohh
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?

Todd (VO): Well, she wants to say no. What she...

Todd: ...probably means is no. Just...stands to reason. Probably should've figured that out already. Although, side note, it's a damn good thing...

Todd (VO): ...for Bieber that the line is, "you say yes, but you mean no,"...

Todd: ...instead of the reverse. [Brief clip of "Blurred Lines" by...] Thanks, Robin Thicke, for taking that bullet. Your stupidity will be a cautionary tale for years to come.

Justin: What do you mean?
Oh, what do you mean?
Since we're running out of time
What do you mean?

Todd: Yeah, this is still not doing anything for me. What's the other one about?

Shawn: You watch me bleedin' 'til I can't breathe
I'm shaking, fallin' onto my knees

Todd (VO): Okay, none of the ambiguity Bieber is suffering from. Mendes is just...hurting. He's in pain, his heart's broken, girl.

Shawn: And now that I'm without your kisses
I'll be needin' stitches

Todd: Okay, this is just crappy songwriting. That's not a romantic line, it's a punchline.

Todd (VO): Like, "girl, you hurt me so bad, I need stitches!" Okay, it's not a very good punchline, but it's definitely not something you can belt out sincerely. This is why you don't let teenagers write their own songs, assuming he even did write this, which he probably didn't.

Todd: Probably written by faceless hacks in a dungeon somewhere. [beat] Wait, did he write it? Who's the songwriter on this?

Shot of sheet music—in Comic Sans, no less—with songwriters Teddy Geiger, Daniel Kyriakides, and Danny Parker. Teddy Geiger is circled.

[Demonic voice] Geiger!!!

Clips of "These Walls" and "For You I Will"
Teddy: Ah, yeah...

Todd (VO): Hold on, am I the only one who remembers this little puke? He was, like, this Radio Disney John Mayer who was briefly a thing back in 2006. Oh, God, all the bad memories are coming back now. There is absolutely...

Todd: reason why Teddy Geiger should still be around making music, even behind the scenes. [Picture of...] George W. Bush isn't still in office, [promo pic of...] The Hills isn't still on the air, there should be no goddamn Teddy Geiger anymore.

Shawn: Your words cut deeper than a knife

Todd: No, can't do it. Back to Bieber.

Justin: First you up then you're down and then between
Oh I really want to know...
What do you mean?
Ohh ohh ohh

Todd: So...does Bieber have some pact with Miley Cyrus going on that they [picture of Miley] always have to have the same haircut?

Justin: But you tell me to go
What do you mean?

Todd: Okay, hold on. There is actually something interesting about this. Am I the only one who's noticed that Bieber's songs have gotten...kinda pissy lately?

Clip of "Where Are Ü Now"
Justin: Where are you now when I need you...

Todd (VO): Like, his song before this was also really bitter. And there's one he, like, just released that starts out like this.

Clip of "Sorry" performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Justin: You gotta go and get
Angry at all of my honesty

Todd (VO): I don't wanna read too much into this, but...

Todd: ...I think, for the first time, I'm starting to see Bieber project some of his actual feelings into his music.

Todd (VO): Like, this is a song about getting mixed signals, right? Who in the world has gotten more mixed signals...

Todd: ...than Justin Bieber?

Pictures of Bieber in front of a throng of teenage girls...

Todd (VO): [as a girl] Oh my God, I love you, Justin Bieber!

...Warning: Anti-Bieber Zone image

[Stern voice] You're the Hitler of music, Justin Bieber!

So, it was a lot more fun to think about this song and all his recent songs as not being sung to a girl, but instead at the world in general.

Clips of "Sorry" performance...
Justin: Is it too late now to say sorry

Todd (VO): ...that I got caught drunk-driving?

..."Where Are Ü Now"...
Justin: Where are you now that I need you

Todd (VO): [singing] Where were you when I got arrested for egging someone's house?

Yeah, I don't know. I hated cutesy moppet Justin Bieber, and I was unimpressed with grown-up Romeo Bieber, but bitter, frustrated, resentful Justin Bieber, I think I can maybe get behind. It's at least a personality trait, which he needs.

Shawn Mendes definitely needs that. He's so bland, I haven't even really listened to the lyrics of his song yet. Well, I don't know. Teddy Geiger's been doing this for ten years now. Maybe he's gotten better at the whole...

Todd: ...writing songs thing.

Shawn: I thought that I'd been hurt before
But no one's ever left me quite this sore

Todd (VO): Um...yeah, breakups hurt, and there's a lot of ways to put that, but...

Todd: ...was "sore" really the word you wanted there?

Todd (VO): Were you so heartbroken that you had to go and lift weights?

Shawn: Your words cut deeper than a knife
Now I need someone to breathe me back to life

Todd: Oh my God, the clichés!

Todd (VO): Is every line here this dull and bad, or is it just Mendes singing badly? You know, this is a song where the heartbreak is so intense, it's causing physical wounds. Where's the drama?

Todd: I mean, listen to this.

Shawn: Now I need someone to breathe me back to life
Got a feeling that I'm going under

Todd (VO): "Going under"? "Bring me back to life"? Do you even realize how you're supposed to deliver lines like that?

Todd: You're supposed to sing them as stupidly over the top as possible!

Clips of Evanescence - "Going Under"...
Amy Lee: I'm going under
...and Evanescence - "Bring Me to Life"
Amy Lee: Bring me to life

Todd: See?

Todd (VO): And yeah, Bieber's song is even more understated, but that's a song about confusion, not pain, you know? It's allowed to be a little low-key.

Justin: What do you mean?
Hey yeah
When you don't want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
What do you mean?

Todd: Is it weird that this is actually kinda growing on me?

Todd (VO): I'm not saying it's fantastic. Maybe it looks better because I'm reviewing it at the same time as "Stitches," which is like standing next to an ugly person to look hotter. Yeah, after a few listens, I'm actually starting to see the appeal of this. The beat's nice, the scenario feels a little more real. You know what, I've always...

Todd: ...kinda had a soft spot for songs that are based around saying one thing, then saying the opposite thing.

Justin: First you wanna go to the left and you want to turn right
Wanna argue all day, make love all night
Clips of Paula Abdul - "Opposites Attract"...
MC Skat Kat: She's got the money
Paula: And he's always broke
I don't like cigarettes
MC Skat Kat: I like to smoke
...Katy Perry - "Hot and Cold"...
Katy: 'Cause you're hot, then you're cold
You're yes, then you're no
...the Beatles - "Hello Goodbye"...
Paul McCartney: You say goodbye, and I say hello
...and Sesame Street
Grover: Near. [Walks away from camera] FAAARRRR!!!

Todd: "Stitches" though?

Todd (VO): Most of all, this song is just badly written.

Shawn: But I know that I'll make it out alive
If I quit calling you my lover
Move on

Todd (VO): Why is the emphasis about making it out okay? Is it a song about moving on, or is it a song about hurting? And this is the only part of the song where he does anything with the whole "stitches" idea.

Shawn: Needle and the thread
Gotta get you out of my head
Needle and the thread
Gonna wind up dead

Todd (VO): You know, he needs stitches to heal, needle and thread. It's a metaphor.

Todd: Wait, a metaphor for what exactly?!

Todd (VO): Needle and thread, stitches represents...what? What's supposed to be healing him here? [Images of "Time Heals All Wounds"...] Time? Strippers? Tub of Ben & Jerry's the size of an oil drum?

Todd: What?

Todd (VO): Yeah, the Bieber song is the better song. Although, for the record, that's mostly for, you know, the slick beat and the lyrics. It has nothing to do with Bieber's singing; I'm still not very impressed with that, so, you know, don't go around telling people I like Justin Bieber now. I give credit for whatever works about this song entirely to the songwriter and producer: [respective pieces from Wikipedia page about song] Justin Bieber and Justin...Bieber.

Todd: Hmm. Okay, I can't believe I'm saying this, but...

Todd (VO): ...if we have to have a Bieber, yes, please let us keep the original recipe Bieber. Hell, I'm actually curious where his career goes from here. Maybe someday, he'll actually be good.

Todd: And as for the other kid.

Todd (VO): Oh, God. Please follow Teddy Geiger directly into obscurity. Or maybe...

Todd: ...he can be my new nemesis. [Demonic voice] Mendes. Yeah, he's not even fun to growl at in rage. [Gets up and leaves] Oh, just awful.

Shawn: I'll be needin' stitches
Justin: What do you mean

Closing Tag Song: Simple Plan - "I'm Just a Kid"

"What Do You Mean?" is owned by Def Jam Records
"Stitches" is owned by Island Records
This video is owned by me