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Justin Bieber Is Secretly Every Character From Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’

Please, allow us to explain

Earlier this month, Justin Bieber did something unthinkable: He walked into a Toronto pub, sat down at a piano, and began to play.

And in playing so beautifully, he gave away that he’s been playing us all. Because between renditions of “Let It Be” and “Sorry,” my precious son revealed himself to be not just any piano man, but every character in Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Don’t believe me? Just watch.

Lyric: It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday

The regular crowd shuffles in

There’s an old man sitting next to me

Makin’ love to his tonic and gin

Let’s assume that in addition to embodying the many people who populate the piano bar in Billy Joel’s song, Justin Bieber is also the song's narrator. But while Justin showed up at Fifth Pubhouse on a Friday (perhaps around nine?), he — like the old man in the song — showed up alone, ordered a drink, and made love to it accordingly.

At least he watched the Raptors game before tickling the ivories.

Lyric: He says, “Son, can you play me a memory

I’m not really sure how it goes

But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete

When I wore a younger man’s clothes.”

This is why Justin played The Beatles.

Lyric: Sing us a song, you’re the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feelin’ all right

If you sing this to the tune of “Sorry,” it actually works.

Lyric: Now John at the bar is a friend of mine

He gets me my drinks for free

And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke

But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

It’s important that we focus on the exchange between Baby Biebs and the pub’s bartender, Dale McDermott. Dale and Bieber got to talking, and Justin asked Dale about Ireland; he was later described by Dale as “friendly and kind.”

Let us recall that while Bieber may be shying slightly away from the public eye via fewer selfies and diminished crowd conversation (see: screaming), he has been heralded as a source of warmth and kindness when in other social situations. During his BBC Radio 1 interview with Clara Amfo, he played basketball with her and his beautiful dog at his beautiful home. When I went to Stratford this summer, the staff of the chocolate shop he visits were quick to tell me how affable he was. And the boy loves charity. Therefore, it’s safe to surmise that while Dale was the official barkeep of the evening, Justin also embodies the personality traits of John: He is friendly, he is kind, he is generous (and would give any piano man their drinks for free), but he’d also always rather be elsewhere. Among nature. Among animals. Among us, his loving family.

Lyric: He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me.”

As the smile ran away from his face

“Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star

If I could get out of this place”

This is just actually too real, because we all know J-Biebs is in desperate need of a rest and seems to be slowly breaking down and smiling a lot less. Also, dude could totally be an actor (his documentaries were masterpieces) — especially if artists like Harry Styles or Drake can.

“This place,” of course, refers to the music industry, where he is trapped, so help us 6ix God.

Lyric: Now Paul is a real-estate novelist

Who never had time for a wife

And he’s talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the Navy

And probably will be for life

“Real-estate novelist” is code for “multimillion-selling, award-winning artist.” Who obviously does not have a serious girlfriend or partner because he is married to his job. This is Bieber.

Davy, however, is Drake — the sole guest in this song’s world — because this is a bar in Canada, and despite knowing otherwise, I like to imagine that it’s just like Cheers where everybody knows your name (because you are famous and you go there a lot).

Lyric: And the waitress is practicing politics

As the businessmen slowly get stoned

Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness

But it’s better than drinkin’ alone

Politics? A fantastic segue. While Justin has never been particularly political, he did refuse to perform at the RNC this past summer, rejecting a $5 million offer, which is a famous person’s answer to “practicing politics,” obviously.

Also (and heartbreakingly), my beautiful son has indeed been arrested for a DUI, which we can quickly chalk up to loneliness disguised as drag racing and very poor choices. R.I.P. innocence.

Lyric: Sing us a song, you’re the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we’re all in the mood for a melody

And you’ve got us feeling all right

This is the narrative Justin heard in his head as he sat down at the grand piano in Toronto last week. This is the narrative he always hears. Often because I am whispering it to him (from afar).

Lyric: It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday

And the manager gives me a smile

’Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see

To forget about life for a while

Which is true. We all go to see Justin Bieber because we want to see Justin Bieber. Also, the world is a vampire, and we drain it by crying tears of joy over renditions of “Baby.”

But I also like to think of Justin as the manager, as the sole body capable of pep-talking himself in a pivotal way. “It’s you they’ve been coming to see,” I imagine him saying to himself in the mirror, “to forget about life for a while.” Then he turns his cap backward, adjusts his oversize tank top, and walks out onto the stage.

Lyric: And the piano, it sounds like a carnival

And the microphone smells like a beer

And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar

And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”

This was the exact moment last Friday night when Bieber realized it was time to go home.

Lyric: Sing us a song, you’re the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we’re all in the mood for a melody

And you’ve got us feeling all right

But he actually never heard this part, because Justin — and the characters he carries with him — had long gone, leaving behind a sense of magic, but most importantly, this brilliant textual analysis of the lyrics of “Piano Man.”