I haven’t decided yet if I hate myself for actually typing this review up. Only time will really tell.
My first impression of this new Justin Bieber came when my friend told me to listen to his single, “Sorry”. I was reluctant because anytime someone gives me a music suggestion and Bieber’s name is in it, I assume the worst. It took me less than twelve hours to declare that this may be the best pop song of 2015 – which didn’t make me excited for his new album; but definitely interested.
Bieber’s new album, Purpose (2015) dropped two days ago and I listened to it on my way to my internship. While the first handful of tracks were previously released singles that I had heard in passing, it was nice to hear them in the order they were intended for. He opens the album telling listeners to mark his words, that he’s about to give all he’s got. To be honest, I really believed him too!
“I’ll Show You” takes a look through the viewfinder of Justin’s past as he calls his life a movie and how he wants to fast forward through the nonsense. As the deep bass fills your ears you can hear his words and his struggle. I think for the first time in his career, Justin Bieber feels mortal – and knows his time may be running out in his music career. So what else is there to do than release a studio album and declare your manhood and take a step back from controversy and the harsh realities of being one of the most detested celebrities in America to find yourself and, well… Find your PURPOSE!
The album continues with “What Do You Mean” which was dropped at the VMAs (right?) at the end of this summer. That, and “Sorry” back to back is guaranteed to get someone hooked on this album. The former addresses the indecisiveness of anybody, nodding yes but wanting to say no and how frustrating it can be when common ground can’t be found with literally anyone these days while the ladder turns the table and plays the guilt game. “Sorry” is arguably the catchiest song on the album for sure and will have you dancing anywhere (just ask me last night at 2:00am at a bar in Midtown).
Now that I’m hooked off the first four songs on this album, Bieber slows it down with a soft acoustic/country hybrid called “Love Yourself”. The title is deceiving and makes you think JB is about to preach about being true to yourself and loving what you do, yada yada yada; but instead it’s actually more of an, “F-you,” song in the subtlest way. “Love Yourself” arguably has the best written song of the entire record (written by Bieber himself along with help from Ed Sheeran). With lines like, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone,” and, “If you think that I’m still holdin’ on to somethin’, you should go and love yourself.” with the soft melodies in the background, you can tell he’s really putting his heart into it. Bieber actually had a hand in writing all of the songs on Purpose, and really owes a lot to producers Skrillex and Diplo, along with unknown producer Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd for giving the album its soft-electro dance sounds.
The album’s melo/modern R&B aesthetic continues with songs like “Company”, “No Pressure”, and “No Sense” (I actually really liked Big Sean and Travi$ Scott’s involvement with those last two, respectively), and even has time to fit in a pop-duet with female artist, Halsey, titled “The Feeling” and then a solo number about life being worth living… titled “Life is Worth Living” – which is probably my least favorite song on the album to be completely honest. This is the only track on the album that gave me a bad taste in my mouth. It sounds great with the piano riff for sure, but the words for this one seem a little artificial. Duets and Adele homages aside, Bieber picks it back up soon enough by also having a cool dance number every once in a while with singles “Where Are Ü Now” and “Children”. The ladder of those two is actually both a progressive and upbeat dance song while also having very powerful words regarding our children and the difference they can make. It’s nice to have a catchy song that can also have words worth listening to.
We wrap with the title track, “Purpose” and its slow melody as Justin Bieber puts the lid on his record by preaching to his fans about feeling his last breath and really bringing the whole thing full circle. It may sound artificial at times and he can shove it in your face that this album will serve as his redemption; but in a perfect world it would be nice if his heart really was in this; and I’m going to be optimistic for this one and assume the ladder.
Purpose was a great change of pace for Justin Bieber and I feel like this can really only further his career as an artist; and I only hope that he is truthful in his words and this is the start of something new from him. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a pop star create a piece that doesn’t solely serve as a mainstream crowd pleaser; but instead is a commentary on himself, his past, his present, and the prospect of his future.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Great
Favorite Song: Tie right now between “Sorry” and “Love Yourself”… But Love Yourself may take it in the long run.
It may just very well be the best pop album of the year and I can now say, that I have a full blown case of Bieber Fever. My 2010 self is rolling over in his grave right now.
P.S. Bieber released dance videos for each of the tracks on Purpose, and they are all incredibly choreographed and shot.
IMAGES: http://is3.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music6/v4/0e/38/b4/0e38b405-ae2c-1da4-5959-866f7abb110e/source/1500x1500sr.jpg, http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/2015/article/watch-justin-bieber-stage-kidnapping-in-what-do-you-mean-video-20150831/207778/large_rect/1441027558/1401×788-Screen-Shot-2015-08-31-at-9.21.17-AM.jpg