Justin Bieber is in the midst of one of the most impressive turnarounds in pop music that started with his collaboration on Skrillex and Diplo‘s Where Are Ü Now. That put Justin out in the most unexpected way, catching unsuspecting EDM fans off guard. It kicked off the second chance for the pop star who started out as a harmless teen sensation and soon became the go-to target for insult and criticism.
When you think about it, it’s no wonder he turned into the self-entitled brat he’s known for. But he wants to change that. Maybe.
When it was released, What Do You Mean was easily Justin’s best single to date. Mature with an atmospheric vibe, it served as the proper reintroduction to the new and improved Justin Bieber that was followed by the album’s second single, the dancehall-infused Sorry – a word he’s probably said too many times as it is. While the song speaks more to a relationship context, Justin says it has double meaning.
He’s adamant about his need to show off this new side, but in doing so, it comes off as self-indulgent. On I’ll Show You, he presents his side of being in the public eye, but with lines like “it’s like they want me to be perfect/when they don’t even know that I’m hurting,” he’s probably not doing himself any favours.
Nor is he with the several cringeworthy spoken word sections where Justin seemingly deflects everything with ‘everyone makes mistakes’. He even says so on Life Is Worth Living. “Life is worth living/The meaning of forgiveness/People make mistakes/doesn’t mean you have to give in.”
These unnecessary and frankly embarrassing moments bring down an otherwise potentially good pop record and make me question his apologies. Justin does successfully bring out his sensitive side with the Ed Sheeran co-write Love Yourself, a much better attempt at idealism than all those ‘poor Bieber’ moments.
On Purpose, Justin is most convincing when he’s not trying to be. It’s a decent step in the right direction with a selection of worthy mid-tempos and great production that will likely carry him to new heights and expanded audiences over the next year. While I’m not quite on the Bieber wagon yet, I’m that much closer to being able to publicly say Bieber ain’t bad. Once he’s dropped the incessant attempts at self-explaining, we can all move on for the better.
1. Mark My Words
2. I’ll Show You
3. What Do You Mean
5. Love Yourself
7. No Pressure [featuring Big Sean]
8. No Sense [featuring Travis Scott]
9. The Feeling [featuring Halsey]
10. Life Is Worth Living
11. Where Are Ü Now [with Skrillex and Diplo]
14. Been You*
15. Get Used To It*
16. We Are [featuring Nas]*
18. All In It*
19. What Do You Mean [featuring Ariana Grande]*