Teen pop is something that has truly irked me over the years – badly! Something about young, cocky, good-looking heartthrobs being proclaimed to be the ‘second coming’ of music just doesn’t appeal nor sit well with me. Yeah, maybe I’m just jealous I couldn’t get the attention all the girls give to these guys, but honestly I tend to be utterly annoyed because of the music itself. I mean, how far does eye candy go if the music is subpar, aka it sucks? My point exactly! However this time, I’m not going to criticize a teen pop start; I’m going to praise him. Hopefully, this praise that I’m giving does backfire on me later and turn into utter blasphemy!
Austin Mahone seems to be going in the right direction musically. When Mahone first materialized a couple of years ago, I was not onboard the train. Don’t call me a “Mahomie” now – reserve that description for his teenage fans – but I actually think that Mahone has star potential. Whether that ‘potential’ translates into Mahone being a star, or eventually being able to break free of the teen-pop mode without turning irresponsible like say Justin Bieber, well only time will tell. But for now, Mahone seems to be pacing his career steadily without much controversy.
During his incredibly youthful “Say Somethin’” and “Say You’re Just A Friend” phase, I was ready to completely rip Mahone apart, being the ‘sensitive’ music critic/journalist I am. Nah, it really wasn’t about Mahone personally, but at the time, he seemed like the ‘mold’ – looks with little artistic substance. Neither single truly made me a believer, even with him being so young and just at the beginning of his career. The pivotal change of heart came with the more urban-pop flare of “What About Love”, which sounded more like an artistic statement that could transcend teen pop. Sure, it was still a song by a teen aimed at teens for the most part, but there was also more room for “What About Love” to expand. That was evidenced by its ability to dint the Billboard Hot 100, something previous singles hadn’t accomplished.
“What About Love” would’ve been the perfect song to give Mahone some momentum into his debut album, but Mahone fell ill and it wasn’t to be at the time. While being the cynical critic I can be, felt that the time elapsed between “What About Love” and his most recent single “MMM Yeah” was a missed opportunity (after he got better mind you), perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing that Mahone is taking his time and developing his artistry rather than just jumping right in. “MMM Yeah” is a single I’d rank closer along the lines of “What About Love” or the preceding “Banga Banga“, because there is more maturity there. No, it’s not really ‘mature’ in content, but Mahone sounds as if he owns his musical personality and truly bought into artistry. Regardless what one thinks of the song (it’s likably corny), the lyric video Mahone has released – with YouTube video personalities included – is nothing short of infectious.
Did I make a misjudgment on Mahone initially? Perhaps, but truly Mahone is now truly beginning to take off and is trending up as a new artist to watch. This also may give the young pop star a chance to get an audience that is comprised of more than just teenage girls who thinks he’s hot. Just saying!