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Track Review

"Listen kid, my daughter is everything. … Someday I have to let her go. And when I do, she needs to be with a man, not a boy, which is what you are."

That's what a dad (played by actor Michael Madsen) says at the beginning of the video for Justin Bieber's hit "As Long as You Love Me." And Bieber's determined to prove him wrong … and perhaps critics of his manhood in the real world too.

The song itself tells the simple story of a young couple struggling to stay strong and stay together out there in the cold, hard world. All they need, Bieber romantically claims, is love. "As long as you love me," we hear repeatedly in the chorus, "We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke/As long as you love me/I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold."

Setting aside for the moment the fact that the 18-year-old Canadian singer certainly has more than a little bit of all those precious elements, the core message here is a romantic and chivalrous one.

"I'll be your soldier," he says, "Fighting every second of the day for your dreams, girl/I'll be your Hova [a reference to rapper Jay-Z]/You can be my Destiny's Child on the scene [Jay-Z's wife, Beyoncé], girl/So don't stress, don't cry, we don't need no wings to fly/Just take my hand."

Guest rapper Big Sean interjects God's name as an exclamation and calls his girl his "hallelujah." Then he goes on to deliver this bit of homespun relational wisdom: "The grass ain't always greener on the other side/It's green where you water it/ … So I know we got issues, baby, true, true, true/I'd rather work on this with you/Than to go ahead and start with someone new/As long as you love me."

Cue that conflict Justin is having with his girl's pops in the video. To wriggle his way around the wedge that's been placed in his love life, Justin tries to lure his lover into a clandestine meeting. She can't come. So he goes to her house … and is greeted with a beating. Papa Bear leaves Justin's face bruised and bloodied as he passes out from his injuries.

In between the video's dramatic opening and closing we see images of the couple in happier—and more physically intimate—times, as they repeatedly kiss and caress and get sensually horizontal (once while on her bed). Justin writes "You r so sexy" on her skin. And intercut shots picture Justin and a retinue of dancers (some showing quite a bit of said skin) undulating through Michael Jackson-esque choreography.

Yes, indeed. Not just a boy anymore.

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