Justin Bieber: Purpose

Ben Grundy reviews the latest release from Justin Bieber

30th November 2015

What a difference time can make. After the failure of 2013’s Journals, his arrest in Miami in 2014 and the consequent smuggest mug shot of all time, many believed Justin would fizzle away. Contrastingly, with new album Purpose, Bieber has made the unlikeliest of comebacks and become (whisper it) socially acceptable?!

Purpose is Bieber completing his reinvention from angst-fuelled teen into self-aware adult. Whilst the idea of Bieber becoming a disciple of God - as his pretentious album cover suggests- is far-fetched and comical, recognition and forgiveness are central themes throughout the album. This vulnerability is illustrated from the beginning as ‘Mark My Words’ and ‘I’ll Show You’ present a reflective Bieber pining “my life is a movie and everyone’s watching”. However, as interesting as Justin finding inner peace like a rah on their gap yah is, Purpose is at its best with its massive club hits: ‘What Do You Mean?’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Where R Ü Now?’. ‘What Do You Mean?’ rocketed straight to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, in spite of some Blurred Lines-esque risqué lyrics – ‘When you don’t want me to move but you tell me to go’. The album’s highlight, though, is ‘Sorry’ which is the perfect shameless shower jam with its infectious dance beat. Skrillex and Diplo get involved in ‘Where R Ü Now?’ which you’d have had to have been under a rock for the past 10 months to have missed. Bieber has collaborated with numerous A-List names - including Kanye West in an advisory role - to help create the potentially career-defining Purpose. ‘Love Yourself’ sees Ed Sheeran’s unmistakeable influence as Justin sings “I didn’t wanna write a song ‘cos I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care or don’t” but leaves you most certainly glad he did – except for when you get caught by your flatmate singing along full blast whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

whilst the idea of Bieber becoming a disciple of God is far-fetched and comical, recognition and forgiveness are central themes throughout

Justin then transforms from hurting introspective into an RnB figure as rappers Big Sean, Nas and Travi$ Scott feature in ‘No Pressure’, ‘We Are’ and ‘No Sense’ respectively. Whilst they aren’t the album’s most eye-catching tracks, they emphasise Bieber’s growing versatility. Tracks such as ‘Been You’, ‘Get Used To It’ as well as ‘Company’ and ‘Children’ are future Digi Monday tracks in the making with highly contagious choruses that demonstrate the strength in depth of Purpose which Bieber’s other albums severely lack. Accompanying these catchy tunes on the second half of Purpose are Justin’s more emotional tracks. The song ‘Purpose’ is the epicentre as Bieber claims he’s reached some form of religious higher plane of thought or something as he preaches “give all you got” as “if it ends up happening, it ends up happening” which I’m sure would make Martin Luther King himself proud. Slower tracks such as ‘Trust’, ‘All in it’, ‘Life Is Worth Living’ and ‘The Feeling’ - the latter of which involves the hotly tipped Halsey - help show Justin’s supposed internal strife and conclude Purpose. Lastly, on Purpose’s deluxe edition (which naturally you’ve chosen over the standard edition), is an acoustic version of ‘What Do You Mean?’ which is equally as catchy as the original somehow. Begrudgingly, Bieber has managed to win many people over (including myself) with Purpose as it is unquestionably his best album to date. Best pop album this year? It easily triumphs over Adele or One Direction’s latest mundane efforts so I’d say so - for that I’m not even sorry.

Ben Grundy


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