Editor's Note: Sarah went mysteriously missing before she could complete her review of this album. However, her therapist provided Scene Point Blank with the complete transcripts of her discussions with him over this release, which we humbly present instead, with some minor edits to protect her privacy. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Sarah: Listen, you have to help me. I have no idea how to deal with this.
Therapist: This isn't about the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] again, is it?
Sarah: No, I had the [REDACTED] lanced, and the [REDACTED] migrated back south for the season. I mean, I'm having trouble with my job.
Therapist: How so?
Sarah: Well, honestly, I think I may have gotten in over my head.
Therapist: Oh? What makes you think that?
Sarah: Well, it all started a few weeks ago when we got an email from a PR company offering to send us a copy of the expanded version of the new...um...
(Sarah can be heard nervously shifting around)
Therapist: Go ahead and say it. It's not like anyone outside this room is going to hear it.
Sarah: ... Justin Bieber album.
Therapist: I thought you wrote for a webzine that focused on punk and hardcore?
Sarah: Yeah, though they let me write about prog, for some reason. To be quite honest, I thought this whole thing was a hoax to begin with. I just sort of signed up for it an assumed I'd be getting a prank package full of [REDACTED] in the mail instead.
Therapist: But it actually came?
Sarah: I'm still not sure that I wouldn't have preferred the [REDACTED], even with the lubricant.
Therapist: Well, have you listened to it?
(Sarah can be heard sighing deeply)
Sarah: ... Yes. Yes I did.
Therapist: And what did it sound like?
Sarah: It sounded like absolute crap. It's everything I hate about popular music rolled into one. It has the stupid catchy choruses, the incessant 4/4, the repetitive and uninspired songwriting, his stupid high-pitched squealing, the--
Therapist: Okay, I think I get the point.
Sarah: And the booklet! It's full of huge, glossy pages of everything the laziest stalker would ever need to track him down and relive his life moment by moment. (pause) Or at least [REDACTED] some of the pictures.
Therapist: I see.
Sarah: It's like listening to adolescence in audio form, everything from the intense discomfort with your own body to the creepy sexual fantasies involving [REDACTED].
Therapist: I think that may have just been you.
Sarah: It honestly creeped me out a little bit. I mean, are these the things people want to know about celebrities?
Therapist: It's possible.
Sarah: And it's not like I can just not review it.
Therapist: Why not?
Sarah: My boss wouldn't take it well.
Therapist: What makes you say that?
Sarah: Have you even seen him? Matt's real name has more consonants in it than I thought were humanly possible to pronounce. He once showed me photos of his vacation to R'lyeh. And I'm pretty sure he's hiding extra limbs under the hump on his back. (pause, followed by whispering) It keeps writhing at me...
Therapist: I think I get the idea.
Sarah: So? What do you make of the situation?
Sarah: That's what I pay you for.
Therapist: I think you're full of it.
(There is silence for a few moments)
Sarah: ... What?
Therapist: I think that you're afraid to listen to something different. I think you've created this safe little bubble of music you can enjoy while still feeling superior to others, and I think the mere thought that you might actually enjoy something that's simple, that's catchy, that's mainstream, threatens your sense of identity. You're so scared of admitting that this part of you might exist that you'll go to any lengths to prevent it from coming out.
(There is another prolonged silence)
Sarah: ... Bullshit.
Therapist: I think the album surprised you. I think some of the songs were so catchy they were stuck in your head for days, to the point where you started [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] with an egg whisk. In short, I think you may have actually enjoyed listening to some of the songs on this album.
Sarah: You can't prove that.
Therapist: What did you listen to when you were in second grade?
(Sarah can be heard fidgeting very loudly with her cell phone)
Sarah: ... Led Zeppelin, of course. And ... and Pink Floyd! All of the good classic rock bands. Heh. Duh!
(A moderate silence follows)
Sarah: (sighing) ... The Backstreet Boys.
Sarah: ... and N*Sync, and 98 Degrees, and every single boy band ever oh god what is wrong with me!
(Prolonged sobbing can be heard)
Therapist: So what makes this music different now? If you enjoyed it then, why don't you enjoy it now?
Sarah: Well, people's tastes change, don't they? My sense of what's musically appealing has evolved over time, and based on everything I've listened to up to this point, I don't consider the majority of the music in that genre to be inventive, or challenging, or even creative. It all sounds so derivative and cookie-cutter to me.
Therapist: You can't think of anything at all about that kind of music that you enjoy?
Sarah: No, not anymore.
Therapist: Okay, what about when you're in a club? Surely you don't want to spend your night dancing to technical metal? You wouldn't be able to keep a pulse!
Sarah: I couldn't keep time while dancing anyway. I'm white.
Therapist: Well, we're still waiting on the results of the [REDACTED].
Sarah: Okay, okay.
Therapist: So you admit that it's still possible for you to enjoy music like this.
Sarah: Well, situationally, I guess.
Therapist: There you go. Go at it from that angle.
Sarah: But even then, that doesn't make it good. That just makes it...I dunno, functional? Is that the right word for that? And even if I did used to listen to music like this as a kid, that doesn't necessarily make it good either.
Therapist: But some people still do like this kind of music.
Sarah: And good for them! But that doesn't make it any better critically. From a musicality standpoint, it's still mind-numbingly boring, uncreative, mindless drivel.
Therapist: You really don't want to like this album, do you?
Sarah: I think it'd be more likely for me to [REDACTED] with a [REDACTED] and ninety feet of MFP.
Therapist: I see.
Sarah: You know what? Maybe I can get out of this whole thing if I just go missing for a few months.
Therapist: I highly doubt that will solve anything.
Sarah: Oh come on. You are such a negative nancy.
Therapist: Should I bother schedule another meeting with you?
Sarah: No, but if Matt calls you looking for me, tell him I'm in a coma or something. That should keep him off of my trail.
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