R&B & Hip-Hop
Def Jam Recordings, RBMG
(Image credit: Genius)
It is widely known that Justin Drew Bieber was discovered on Youtube when he uploaded videos of him singing and playing the guitar. Bieber became a teen sensation and has amassed a huge following over the years, and his most recent R&B/pop album, Changes, dropped last Valentine’s Day, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard 200. It has been five years since Bieber released a new album, and since the young star is now in his late 20s, we had expected a great deal of maturity, especially considering the album’s title.
Musicians’ love lives usually inspire their music, and Bieber is no exception. The star was linked to Selena Gomez on-and-off from December 2010 to May 2018. A month after their breakup, Bieber reunited with his ex-girlfriend, Hailey Baldwin, and then another month later, he proposed. Later in September, the couple got married and are living happily ever after.
In January 2020, Bieber released the first single, Yummy, from his new album, followed by a second single, Intentions, the following month. Both songs reference his devoted love towards his current wife. Bieber is not trying to make his ex-girlfriend jealous by hastily jumping into marriage and flaunting his relationship, of course. Here is what we think:
All around Me
The first song on the album opens with Bieber’s soft vocals as a soothing electric guitar strums in the background. The only downside is the unnecessary autotune used on Bieber’s voice.
Not sure what I was doin’ before ya / I quit tryin’ to figure it out
The first line of the song has Bieber referencing his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Gomez.
I need you all around me / Wouldn’t wanna be in any other place
Bieber expresses his need for his wife, Hailey, and sings about not wanting to be anywhere else.
Bieber is almost whispering throughout the songs, so we can barely make out the lyrics. The beat is barely kicking up, and its subtle presence compliments the overpowering of Bieber’s clean vocals.
My love for you’s habitual, yeah (so habitual) / Not for a moment, but forever
Bieber claims that his love has become a habit and that his bond with his wife will last longer than just a moment.
Come around Me
The high-pitched synths make the song rather catchy and enable you to move along to the beat. The second verse of the song features beautiful lower vocals by Bieber, but the lyrics are a bit too sensual.
Intentions ft. Quavo
The upbeat pace of the track, coupled with the pulsing bass, show why Bieber chose it as one of the singles. Bieber’s vocals work well with the background notes that almost sound like they would be featured in a video game, but Quavo’s verse on the song seems too random and out of place.
Make sure that you don’t need no mentions / Yeah, these are my only intentions
When I create, you’re my muse / The kind of smile that makes the news
Bieber clears up the rumours circulating around his relationship with his wife as he sings about having intentions of providing for her. He also credits her as the reason behind his new music, and that the news should only be talking about how happy they are together.
This song is our least favourite so far, because of how ridiculous the lyrics are. Although the beat is kind of catchy and Bieber’s vocals are on point, there’s no way in hell we’re singing along.
The beat sounds too similar to the rest of the album, but the production on the track is top-notch. The lyrics are a bit sloppy, and most of the words don’t even rhyme.
Forever ft. Post Malone and Clever
The song too sounds similar to Intentions, and although Bieber’s vocals are impressive, they are lightly autotuned. Post Malone’s feature might be a tad underwhelming, and Clever’s vibrato in his short verse makes him sound like a goat.
Second Emotion ft. Travis Scott
We understand that to make an album sound coherent, the vibe of the songs should be unified, but again, this one’s beat sounds like Intentions and Forever. The first verse has Bieber quickly rapping the lyrics, which sounds different from the rest of the album. Travis Scott’s brief feature on the track does not have much impact. Also, the song uncomfortably and abruptly ends without a smooth outro.
Get Me ft. Kehlani
The DJ scratching in the background of Bieber’s vocals is interesting to hear, and the way he effortlessly flips into falsetto is noteworthy. For the first time on the whole album, the feature by Kehlani actually blends well with Bieber’s vocals and the entire atmosphere of the song.
Oh, you don’t compare, don’t fit in with ’em, do you get me?
Fans allegedly kept comparing Bieber’s wife to his past relationship with Gomez, but he begs to differ.
The title track features acoustic guitar strums that follow Bieber’s singing techniques from the beginning of his career. It’s almost like an homage to his previous persona and paving the way for a new path.
Though I’m goin’ through changes / Don’t mean that I’ll change
We don’t get it. Is Bieber changing, or is he not?
That’s What Love Is
The guitar shifts to a higher note, making it uncomfortable to listen to. We paused and moved on during the first few seconds.
At Least for Now
Bieber sure saved the best for last, as this track is the only one we’d have on our playlist after this review. The synths are catchy and nice to listen to, and the lyrics, for a change, are actually meaningful and relatable. Bieber also beautifully yodels in the outro, and it’s the first time we’ve ever heard him do it.
At least for now / Trying to avoid disappointment
At least for now / One finger at a time, I turn the pages, yeah
Despite being a little disappointed by the album, we wish Bieber the best for his future.
You can stream and download Changes here.