Album Review: “Purpose” – Justin Bieber

^stand out track

I’ve finally warmed up to Bieber, and I’m generally annoyed at myself for never really seeing the person behind the music. Granted, his music up until this latest album was controlled by music executives hellbent on milking him for all his worth (poor 1D). No wonder Bieber has had so many problems dealing with stardom and in particular, with himself; he literally has had no control over his own career, until now.
With “Purpose”, Bieber is reflective and remorseful, and you get the sense he has ALOT more control and creative output in the making of this album. I think this is why people have warmed up to him recently, and have accepted him more openly than ever before (and in doing so attracting a broader fanbase outside of teenage girls).

I think the album is more than just a step forward in the right direction; sonically, we are hearing new sounds, less cheesier RnB, and pop songs with lyrical punch. Bieber has finally left adolescence behind, and we get to see the talent without (too much) meddling of those pesky executives.

TRACKS

Interestingly, the album tends to group similar tracks and their styles and sounds together in a meaningful way; I really do hate when pop records have no regard for tracklisting!
“Mark My Words” and “I’ll Show You” are both lyrically similar and convey Bieber allowing us to enter his thoughts: the price of stardom, his thirst to prove himself as more than just a child-star, and forgive his past mistakes. This makes the opening tracks so fascinating; it’s brutally honest: “This life’s not easy, I’m not made of steel….act like you know me, but you never will….But there’s one thing I know for sure…I’ll show you!”. Great stuff.

What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry” round out the more pop-orientated tracks. This stuff is sonically new, we see alot of new experimentations although I do think that “Sorry” goes a bit overboard with this (I mean, come on, skeleton clackers???). Both are already guaranteed hits, and represent the type of sound pop music is probably going to be influenced by for the next year or so. They’re also MILES above any of his part offerings singles-wise.

“Love Yourself” is the next big single to hit radio. It’s different from the rest of the album; it’s been stripped back and given the Ed Sheeran treatment. The lyrics are impressive too, and we rarely get to hear Bieber being so candid and REAL about his relationships. One of the highlights on the album.

No Pressure”“Company”, and “No sense” are more than just fillers and do the job of filling the middle of the album quite well. All RnB and hip-hop sonically, they might turn off the more pop-oriented listener but Bieber is more comfortable in this music setting, and his breathy vocal sits well here. It’s not the strongest point of the album, and none of them well be released as a single, but all strong tracks nevertheless.

The Feeling has been identified as a fan favourite and will hit the charts hard next year after Love Yourself. It’s a powerful song, with great lyrical content with a killer chorus hook. It’s my favourite on the album, and represents the best of what this album has to offer. Tracklist wise, it’s refreshing to go back to pop-roots after the 10+ mins of RnB. Highly Recommended listen!

Life Is Worth Living” is trash; it’s cheesy, it’s a ballad, and it’s meaning is ridiculous, especially coming from a 21 y.o. The sentiment stands, but there are better ways of conveying this message without being so tumblr-esque. Might as well have put TW (trigger warning) in brackets in the song title. Seriously, skip this.

“Where Are U Now?” and “Children” are the most EDM of all the tracks and interestingly placed towards the end of the album, perhaps due to the slow fading of EDM on the music scene. The former is a great track with such an unusual chorus that works rather well. My problem with “Children” is its lyrical content; it’s just as embarrassing as “Life Is Worth Living”, nevertheless it hits hard on the chorus. Make it an instrumental please?

Purpose rounds out the album (non-deluxe) and contains a cheesy outtake by Bieber at the end with some quasi meaning-of-life sermon. It’s obviously a track directed at fans; giving him purpose and giving him strength to keep his music going. It’s the only ballad that holds up well, but again, keep that sermon out of here. Audiences will already understand he has put his heart on the line on this album, we don’t need to literally hear that, we’ve understood it by now!

CONCLUSION

justin-bieber-purpose
This is arguably his best album to date. No more songs directed at tweens and teenagers. Less control and more creativity lets him grow as an artist here. The whole album feels like it’s split in groups of different sounds as I’ve pointed out in my track-by-track analysis. I like it, it offers something for every type of listener. The ballads suffer for all sorts of reasons so thank fuck there’s only a few. The album shines when Bieber is being his most honest, and does away with executive interference and machinations.
Highlights include “I’ll Show You“, “Sorry“, “Love Yourself“, “The Feeling“, and “Where Are U Now“.

4 stars out of 5! 

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