Earlier today I texted my friend “I hate how much I actually love the new Justin Bieber album”, and in retrospect I didn’t mean that. I don’t really hate that I like it, because music is meant to make you feel less alone and so there is no point to being ashamed of what you enjoy listening to.
There seems to be some sort of hipster mentality that the best music under ground, and as soon as a musician gains more general traction they are suddenly not as good. It is the mentality that anything top 40, anything on the billboard top 100 lists, is automatically bad. That it is worse that some lo-fi prog rock EP that was only released on cassette. Hipsters commend themselves on some immaterial pretentiousness where the more obscure the artist the more immaculate their musical taste is.
But I think that is dumb.
There is room to love things on both ends of the spectrum.
So here is me saying that I actually like Justin Bieber’s new album. And I am not ashamed of that.
Purpose is an electro dance party album full of rhythmic playfulness where Justin’s vocals are remixed into an additional synth like element that that trickles throughout like a harmonic dolphin who is inexplicably into EDM. Purpose has some introspective tracks, talking about Justin’s mistakes, the media pressure, and the emotional impact of the fame. His second track, a chill and calming EDM track called “I’ll Show You” that sings “Its like they want me to be perfect//but they don’t even know that I’m hurting” and “Don’t forget that I’m human”.
The track “Sorry” is all about apologizing to a girl for all of the mistakes he might have had in a a loop that feels like a sincere beg. Oddly the following “Lose Yourself” is the spiteful mirror, talking about a girl who did him wrong in a relationship “I’m better sleeping on my own” and “my mamma don’t like you//and she likes everyone”. This track is the most minimal on the album and it is easy to hear that is was co-written by Ed Sheeran. The album boasts many other collaborations, like from Big Sean and Diplo. The track “We Are”, which features Nas, has a light piano base – which is a pleasant surprise – with a house beat over it. Justin goes back into the falsetto high notes that you remember him for. The final track on the album “All In It” has an extended talking section that sounds like an auditory journal entry trying to be inspirational and almost getting there.
Justin is no longer a teen pop sensation, he is an actual artist, and after years of being portrayed by the media – pretty rightfully so – as an trouble making egomaniac – from being caught vandalizing to egging a neighbors’ house to being seen leaving a brothel in Brazil- he is making steps to be a better version of himself. Apologizing at his roast on Comedy Central Justin said “There’s been moments I’m really proud of and a lot of moments I look back and I’m pretty disappointed in myself for… for that, I’m sorry. But what I can say is I’m looking forward to being someone that you guys can all look at and be proud of”. The purpose of Purpose might be to create an auditory apology for the general public on his behavior, but we are yet to see if the sorry will stick. But once it does or doesn’t Justin will finally know the answer to “I know that I let you down, is it too late to say I’m sorry now?” which he asks in “Sorry”.
Justin is working on being a more likable person. While it is too soon to tell about Justin himself, I will say that I do like his album Purpose and that is a pretty good start.
Track list is as follows:
- Mark My Words
- I’ll Show You
- What Do You Mean?
- Love Yourself
- No Pressure
- No Sense
- The Feeling
- Live is Worth Living
- Where Are U Now
- Been You
- Get Used to It
- We Are
- All In It