This is the year when we all become Beliebers. Staunch naysayers could shrug this idea off but there is no denying that “Purpose” from Justin Bieber is slaying both record sales and critical tastes.
Purpose is the fourth studio album of Bieber and the most remarkable for several reasons. Remember that it has been almost two years since he dropped a new album. The Canadian singer also announced a hiatus about two years ago although he made several albeit limited media and public appearances. The new album nonetheless marks his return to the pop music limelight.
What makes the album truly remarkable is that it carries a sense of sleekness and maturity. Purpose has completely geared away from the bubblegum and confused image of Bieber while fully embracing new trends in pop music. Critics could not agree more.
Kenneth Partridge of the Billboard magazine believed the new album gives Bieber a PR and career boost. After all, the pop star spent the last couple of years causing troubles and controversies. The album is nonetheless provides redemption. It presents him as humble, repentant, and grown up.
The maturity is evident. Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said Bieber is one of the most scrutinised public figures in the America. Purpose is a statement in the sense that it illustrates the issues associated with young manhood while employing deep meta references to fame and maturity and persecution by the press.
Despite the apparent drama and brouhaha associations, the album is not a downer, Partridge implied. “The album boasts a consistent palette of lush, low-key electro-dance sounds: sun-warped synths, chipmunk accent vocals, rattling trap hi-hats, and loads of bass,” he said. Moreover, when combined with the downy and still-boyish voice of Bieber, he said the songs are psych-up music for “the man in the mirror.”
The music in Purpose is less of a mainstream crowd pleaser according to Neil McCormick of The Telegraph. Instead, it is more of a quirky, atmospheric R&B concoction coupled with sci-fi sounds and offbeat vocals.
Much of the reinvention in the music of Bieber came from the hard work of EDM headliners and producers Diplo and Skrillex. Greenblatt said the album features “a skittering, metallic synthesis of dance music and modern R&B.”
Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian also acknowledged the role played by the producers. She said “the musical direction owes much to co-producer Skrillex, whose unexpectedly subtle electronic palette” matches the “affectedly breathy voice” of Bieber. Although the voice palls, the songs often remain interesting.
There have also been comparisons with the English-Irish boy band One Direction since both parties released their albums within he same season. Greenblatt said that unlike Bieber, One Direction seemed as if not ready to explore their own more adult voices in their new album Made in the A.M.
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said that although Bieber is younger than all of the members of One Direction, “he sounds exponentially more experienced, and exponentially more fatigued on Purpose.” He said Purpose proves that Bieber is “the best singer of the bunch, and the one with a clear vision for his sound.”
Further details of the review of Partridge are in the article “Justin Bieber Proves His Growth on Purpose: Album Review” published in 2015 in the Billboard. The review of Greenblatt is in the article “From Boys to Men: EW Reviews Justin Bieber and One Direction’s New Album” published in 2015 in Entertainment Weekly. Details of the review of Sullivan are in the article “Justin Bieber: Purpose review” published in 2015 in The Guardian. Further details of the review of McCormick are in the article “Justin Bieber and One Direction’s new albums: biting the hand that feeds them” published in 2015 in The Telegraph. Details of the review of Caramanica are in the article “On New Albums, Justin Bieber and One Direction Are Joyless Boys” published in 2015 in The New York Times.