Bieber releases his best work to date with “Purpose”

Vincent Nguyen, Reporter

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Justin Bieber – hate him or love him – is one of the biggest, most polarizing and controversial names in the music industry today. Once a teen sensation, “Purpose,” released Nov. 13 through Def Jam records, is Bieber’s final step in transitioning from the floppy-haired teen to a more mature, young adult.

The standard edition of “Purpose” contains 13 songs, lasting 48 minutes and 13 seconds. Being supported by its two singles “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry.” The Biebz’s fourth studio album was able to sell an astounding 649,000 equivalent album units the first week of release.

Sonically, the album is all over the place with combinations of EDM, slow ballads, modern day R&B and pop. But Bieber is able to pull it all together and release his best work to date.

“Mark My Words,” the intro track is a great illustration of the whole album. Bieber’s boyish falsetto and at times, whiny vocals, are accompanied with lyrics about his past relationships over very somber production. The track isn’t sensational, but it just sounds good and has a good vibe to it. That pretty much sums up the whole album.

On the next track, “I’ll Show You,” he starts off by saying, “My life is a movie and everyone’s watching. So let’s get to the good part and past all the nonsense.” It looks like the 21-year-old Canadian is ready to move on from his past mistakes and troubles and take on a new life. His vulnerability shown in the song is quite refreshing and pleasantly shocking. The production,

handled by Skrillex, is the album’s first glimpse of the EDM influence, with crazy-sounding synths and trap-inspired rolling hi-hats.

Next is my personal favorite on the album, “What Do You Mean?” The song’s laid back vibe is perfect to listen to in the car with your windows down during a sunny afternoon. Bieber’s second ever number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart has the Biebz frustrated with this girl who seems confused and doesn’t know what exactly she wants.

“What do you mean? oh, oh when you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no what do you mean?” he croons on the chorus over a lush, exotic instrumental.

“What Do You Mean?” is followed by “Sorry,” another song showcasing Bieber’s maturity and acknowledging his wrongs.

“Is it too late to say sorry? Yeah I know that I let you down . Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?”

The forgiving lyrics are combined with an upbeat, “tropical EDM”-influenced instrumental by BLOOD and Skrillex, who has five production credits on the album.

“Love Yourself,” the Ed Sheeran-co-written and Benny Blanco-produced track is the album’s most melancholy song, but still is able to maintain a catchy, pop core. Bieber bitterly sings about an ex-girlfriend who hurt him and now he is better off without her.

He sings on the chorus, “Cause if you like the way you look that much, oh baby you should go and love yourself. And if you think that I’m still holding on to something, you should go and love yourself.”

“No Sense” and “The Feeling” both have features from up and coming artists Travis Scott and Halsey, respectively. “No Sense” is very bass and 808-heavy, with Bieber effortlessly flowing over the dark, eerie instrumental. Even with its dark aesthetic, the track still is groovy and Travis adds his own touch with an auto-tuned drowned verse.

Halsey steals the show with a beautiful, emotional chorus on “The Feeling.” “Can’t get out of my head and I need you to save me. If I am delusional then maybe I’m crazy in love with you, am I in love with you? Or am I in love with the feeling?” she belts out.

“Life is Worth Living,” the stripped back, piano-accompanied ballad is the best example of the singer’s maturity, growth and a rekindled love for life and his faith. The singer is able to reflect on his controversial past and admits that he is working on bettering himself.

“They tried to crucify me, I ain’t perfect, won’t deny my reputation’s on the line, so I’m working on a better me,” he sings. Positivity is present throughout the 3:54 minute track.

To close out the album, the title track is another piano-based, earnest ballad. What could be a conversation with him and God, the singer is emotionally bare with his lyrics and vocals.

“Purpose” is another stepping stone for the 21-year-old pop sensation. Maturity, growth, reflection and emotional are some words that could explain the album.

“Purpose” allows for a new, fresh perspective and a glimpse of where Bieber’s current mindset is. There is nothing that can sweep the singer’s past away, but this is a huge stride forward and it seems like the Biebz isn’t going to be looking back.

Final Grade – 8/10

Favorite tracks – Mark My Words, What Do You Mean?, Sorry, Love Yourself, No Sense, The Feeling, Purpose

Least favorite tracks – Company, No Pressure

email: nguyenvp01@mail.buffalostate.edu

Twitter: @TheGawddd

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