Growing up in the spotlight isn’t easy, but it seems like Justin Bieber has come out of the pop machine mostly unscathed. We’ve seen him quite literally go from a boy to a man, from maligned teen pop sensation to universal praise – critical and commercial – with 2015’s Purpose.
A few years away from solo music seems to have done him good; he’s settled down, gotten married, and (in his words) dealt with some “deep-rooted issues”. Changes marks his grand return to the industry, but it turns out that a more subdued lifestyle has left him without a lot to say.
Ostensibly, Changes is a love letter to Justin’s wife, Hailey Baldwin, and it’s certainly at its strongest in its more tender moments; Habitual, about the comfort they both find in their relationship, stands out.
Those moments are, however, few and far between, with the majority of the record being comprised of trap-infused sexual slow-jams, navigated with all the sensuality of a teenage boy’s Instagram DMs.
Said trap beats come courtesy of Poo Bear, a long-time collaborator who also had a hand in Purpose. Changes sees much fewer hands in the pot, giving the record a more stripped-down feel than its predecessor, but without the help of Skrillex, Diplo and Benny Blanco, there’s a real sense that this album lacks its own identity, meandering from one generic R&B tune to the next without offering anything unique or substantial to digest on the way.
Changes isn’t a bad album per se – it’s just a dull one. Everything on the record is so inoffensive and indistinct that every track blends into one another, making this comeback feel half-baked.
Last modified: 27th February 2020