I’ve been a low-key Belieber since ‘My World 2.0’ was released in March 2010. I liked how Justin was found on YouTube, his poppy not-yet-broken voice that sung of all the struggles of teenage romance appealed to my nearly-16 year old self. There’s a stigma around being a Belieber, going to university I didn’t shout it from the rooftops, only confessing my secret to a couple of close friends by suggesting we watch the ‘Believe’ DVD one New Year’s Eve in 2012. It went as far as having to pretend not to love it when a DJ would ‘ironically’ drop a Bieber tune on a night out. Now 5 years on I no longer have to hide it. I am a Belieber and proud, and it’s likely no matter how you hard you fight it, soon you will be too.
On November 13th Justin Bieber revealed his grown up self to the world. After releasing the track listing via a series of tweets showing each track title graffitied on a wall in a bunch of different countries just over 2 weeks before, and announcing that his 2016 tour will begin in March, Beliebers all over the world waited with baited breath, itching to hear what Bieber had to offer. He’d already released a couple of bangers to give lovers and haters alike a taste of what was coming. “What Do You Mean?” became a summer anthem for many, and “Sorry” had people dancing their way through October.
The album starts with “Mark My Words”, like many of the tracks on the album it really feels like you’re getting a peek into Justin’s soul and that he’s laying his feelings out in audio form. Introducing us to the high pitched backing vocals that will become a thread throughout the whole album, vocals that are now all too familiar to my housemates as I’ve gurgled them in the shower every day. I just can’t help myself.
Could I pick a favourite song from the album? “Love Yourself” is certainly up there, and his release of ‘Purpose: The Movement’ a series of videos, released every hour on the hour on November 14th, strongly aids its case. Paris Goebel, Bieber’s long-time choreographer created the different routines that are performed by a whole host of different dancers for each song’s video, which become a dance movie if you watch them all back to back. In “Love Yourself” we see a contemporary duet that perfectly compliments the lyrics that talk of a self obsessed girl that Bieber confesses he wrote about an ex that he does not wish to name.
Another song that grabs my attention is “No Pressure” which has early ‘00s Usher vibes all over it, take a listen for yourself and your brain may automatically try and hear “Confessions” like mine did. “Company” has a bass line that you want to make-out to; “Life Is Worth Living” is a tender ballad where Justin hints at the trouble he’s had with the media and what it’s been like for him to be in the spotlight all this time; “We Are” has the most attitude by far and features Nas who brings a hard, manly edge to the album. The final track “All In It” hammers home a great moral message about only doing something if your heart is in it, documenting his journey from a guy who could only play one song on the guitar to the superstar he is today.
If there’s one thing this album ain’t, it’s twee. Bieber has taken a step, a leap, hell a private jet plane ride away from his old music, paying homage to his former self only in lyrics. Showing himself to the world as an adult, an artistic creator who knows what he’s about, knows what he wants and finally how to hold himself when he’s buzzing about the media, by making great impressions in interviews and giving some beautifully honest live performances on TV and venues all over the globe.
I urge you to head to YouTube, Spotify, iTunes or Amazon and get Justin’s noises in your ears as soon as you can and surrender yourself to the second coming of Bieber Fever.
Review by Han Randall