REVIEW: JUSTIN BIEBER'S "JUSTICE"
“Some people come in your life for a reason, others they come in your life for a season.”
But Hailey is in Justin Bieber’s for a “lifetime.”
Bieber’s new (deluxe) album “Justice” features 22 tracks that, much like his previous album Changes, include several love letters to his wife.
“Changes” was released a year ago –– after a five-year producing hiatus –– as an R&B album. In my opinion, that album was Bieber’s attempt to break back into the industry in a unique way, that wouldn’t tie him to the (wrong) pre-pubescent connotation that so many people hold.
“Justice,” however, is Bieber’s return to his original pop roots that made him an overnight sensation. 11 years after his first single “One Time” was released, he’s still going strong. And I’m still his biggest fan.
The album was released on March 19 and secured Bieber’s eighth No. 1 album on the Billboard top 200.
The same night, he released the music video for track 12 “Peaches” (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) and the song immediately began trending on TikTok. It is now also topping charts at #1 in the UK. “I get my peaches out in Georgia. I get my weed from California.” Nice. The music video is aptly fruity and neon and features all three singers.
Featured on “Justice” is Kahlid, Chance the Rapper, Dominik Fike, and Burna Boy. The deluxe album adds 8 more incredible tracks and features some slightly off-brand for Bieber artists like DaBaby, Quavo and Lil Uzi Vert –– but I love the products of their collaboration, so I’m not complaining.
Bieber’s voice is as angelic as ever and his lyrics are as cheesy as ever. The album has its fair share of acoustic ballads, (“Off My Face,” “2 Much,” and “Lifetime”), bubbly chill numbers (“As I Am”, “Wish You Would” and “I Can’t Be Myself”) and classic pop bangers with slight hints of R&B (“Hold On” and “Holy”) both of which were released as singles before the full album and immediately rose to the billboard top 100.
Justin Bieber is utterly and completely obsessed with his wife and there’s no doubt in any listeners mind what –– or who –– inspires the majority of his music. Almost three years after his marrying Hailey Bieber he is still in the honeymoon phase. For the sake of music –– and my happiness –– I hope he stays there forever.
“You are the only one I'll ever love … You are the only good I’ve ever done” (“Anyone”). Um sorry Bieber but I fully disagree and your six studio albums, two feature albums, 44 singles, 18 AMA awards, two Grammys, and 20 Billboard Music Awards probably do too.
And of course, the album has to include a staple song about experiencing such fame at such a young age. A song that is, for once not an ode to Hailey (or another woman) and rather an appreciation for his immense fan base. On this album, that song is “Lonely” which was released as a single on October 15, 2020. It’s a moody and dramatic piano ballad featuring f-bombs and Benny Blanco and I love it.
Another staple for Bieber: a worship song. This album’s ode to god is “Holy” (feat. Chance the Rapper) which was the first preview we got of “Justice” last September. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 as most of Justin Bieber’s first album teaser singles do.
When you start listening to the album, the first voice you hear isn’t Justin’s, it’s Martin Luther King Jr’s. Bieber introduces track one, “2 Much” (one of my favorites on the album) with MLK’s well known quote “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think Bieber is an incredibly talented artist and performer. But naming this album Justice truly missed the mark. “If you’re wondering why anyone thought it was a good idea to conflate civil-right martyrdom with the thought of succumbing to a hot woman, keep wondering,” Variety wrote in it’s review and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“Die for you,” a song about dying for his wife: “Pain and passion, my desire / You're the right now and what will be / You know I would die for you” is preceded by track 7, an approximately two minute “MLK interlude.” If that’s not performative activism, I don’t know what is.
No real allusions to social justice issues are made, neither are any calls to action. The only slight inclination of this being an album attempting to spur some societal change is the sprinkling of MLK quotes.
“This is me doing a small part. My part. I want to continue the conversation of what justice looks like so we can continue to heal.” Bieber tweeted on Feb. 26 date. I’m sorry, Justin, as much as I love you, and I really really do, you did not meaningfully contribute to the conversation and you certainly did not start it.