Justin Beiber – Purpose
Purpose comes after Bieber’s take-me-back moment at the VMAs, weeping onstage. It’s full of motivational Bieb-talk about the realness of the Bieb-struggle: Find your “Purpose” and realize “Life Is Worth Living,” because Bieber is for the “Children.” His midtempo R&B gets welcome boosts from Skrillex (the synth-elephant blurts in “Sorry” and “Where Are Ü Now”), Halsey, Ed Sheeran and Travis Scott. Unlikely maturity mentor Big Sean adds some entertainingly cloddish flair: “I eat the Cookie like I’m Lucious!”
Similar to this inert sense, the songs on Purpose seem to radiate more than they move. “No Sense” has a peculiarly empty and deliberately unattractive vibe, and Travis Scott’s appearance near the end of the song merely adds another icy texture. Nothing in this place is as lopsidedly constructed and compelling as Journals’ “Confident”. With its shimmering, processed acoustic guitars, Big Sean’s song “No Pressure” comes close, though it may have sounded lighter and more agile in the hands of Usher.
In general, vagueness, indecision, and faint befuddlement suit Bieber best. “The Feeling”, produced by Skrillex, describes a liminal, unstable state (“Am I in love or am I in love with the feeling?”), and the track fittingly seems to slip in and out of focus. Halsey, who released one of the worst singles of the year with “New Americana”, proves an ideal counterweight to Bieber, and together the two effortlessly convey the gentle intensity of a crush. At these moments, when Bieber is allowed to remain a lithe and fluttery element zippering in and out of a canvas, he sounds most comfortable.
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Justin Beiber’s Purpose Tracklist
- Mark My Words
- I’ll Show You
- What Do You Mean?
- Love Yourself
- No Pressure (featuring Big Sean)
- No Sense (featuring Travis Scott)
- The Feeling (featuring Halsey)
- Life Is Worth Living
- Where Are Ü Now?
- Been You (Deluxe bonus track)
- Get Used To It (Deluxe bonus track)
- We Are (featuring Nas) (Deluxe bonus track)
- Trust (Deluxe bonus track)
- All In It (Deluxe bonus track)
- Hit the Ground (Japan bonus track)
- The Most (Japan bonus track)
- Home To Mama (Japan bonus track)
- What Do You Mean?
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