ARTIST OF THE MONTH: JUSTIN BIEBER
After a three-year hiatus, Justin Bieber returned with his album titled "Purpose," released on November 13, 2015, by Def Jam Recordings and School Boy Records. His previous album, "Believe" and "Journals," a 2014 compilation album that only had a limited release, were both crammed full of burning slow jams and hot hip-hop features, and while both of those do pop up on "Purpose," was overflowing with dance beats and EDM vibes. The 21-year-old Canadian had spent the last few years on the squeaky clean image that propelled his first three records to more than 15m combined sales.
Much of the record echoes the dancefloor melancholy of the three banging singles that preceded it, ‘What Do You Mean?, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Where Are Ü Now,’ the summer-conquering collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü. The first single from the album, "Where Are Ü Now," a collaboration he recorded with Skrillex and Diplo, has deep bass rolls and bounces back and forth on gentler waves of his typical production sound. His second single, “Sorry," along with “I’ll Show You,” and the aforementioned “What Do You Mean,” all have restrained but groovy beats that have an Eastern flavour to them. Although it doesn’t mean all work so well as ‘The Feeling,’ featuring pop sensation Halsey, and ‘Love Yourself,’ written with Ed Sheeran, are more traditionally Bieber, and their big pop hooks are out of place amidst the forward-thinking electronic shuffle.
The opener track ‘Mark My Words," is a burst of pitch-shifted vocals and apologetic promises. The funk-laced ‘Company’ could have easily been a hit, while ‘No Pressure’ is darker, a sprawl of bassy beats and personal epiphanies reminiscent of The Weeknd. However, a redefining moment for Bieber comes with “Life is Worth Living?” where he e explains the long journey that brought him to where he is present, and the faith got him through his darkest periods. This deep, emotional song shows Bieber’s true talent as learning from mistakes. Then we have, “Children” which is also a collaboration with Skrillex, making for an upbeat vibe that takes listeners to a whole new level of high-tech sounds and beats. Finally, the album title track closes things out, and it is properly the heaviest song on the record. Bieber lays it all on the line, questioning his existence, why he is living, but that he confronts demons and embraces his faith, thus giving him the gift of purpose.
Justin Bieber’s "Purpose" is a wonderful collection of fun songs and beautiful serenades that fans of all music genres can enjoy. This one of his best albums, showcasing maturity, progression, skill, and most of all, repentance. Bieber has proved to be completely unafraid of reinventing himself into one of the most forward-thinking stars today. It is a strong move in his transition to adulthood and proves there's far more to him than being a pretty face for schoolgirls to swoon over.