Justin Bieber – Justice
With a name like Justice and an introduction containing a snippet from a Martin Luther King Jr speech, one might expect to hear an artist taking a stand with an album of politically-charged messages. Long story short, one might be disappointed. Just over a year after releasing fifth studio album Changes, Justin Bieber returns with a sixth that is more personal than political; in fact, it’s mostly a continued dedication to his wife, model Hailey Bieber. There’s redemption, romance and religion… just less in the realm of “justice” itself.
The singer has released several promotional singles in the past few months, so fans will already be familiar with tracks like gospel-inspired Holy and the anthemic Anyone. They’re noticeably calmer, less about validation and finding the next chart-topper and instead about the search for inner peace (where all roads lead back to his wife/muse). The opening tracks feature stripped-back sounds mirroring their introspectiveness – some could even have been lifted straight from an acoustic edition. The lovey-dovey gushing can be a bit much, however, be it lines like “don’t wanna fall asleep, I’d rather fall in love” in opener 2 Much or singing about love as a drug in Off My Face. They’re lyrically laced with references to Bieber’s faith too. One can judge the finite themes, but at least he gets top marks for consistency.
MLK Interlude marks a time-out and second speech feature from MLK himself, but it’s a confusing connection to the tracks that immediately follow: 80s-influenced love songs and odes to Mrs Bieber once again. It’s definitely an album of two halves, with more beat and synth in the latter part to mix things up… slightly. There’s retro-sounding Ghost, sunny Peaches and Ryan Tedder and Skrillex (among others)-penned Somebody, however the standout is the 27 year-old getting candid in Lonely. It documents the rise and fall – and rise again – of the former teen poster-boy: “Everybody knows my past now, like my house was always made of glass.” It’s undeniably the most raw and moving offering.
This is an artist who has evolved incredibly publicly; whilst genre-spanning Justice doesn’t exactly sound like a brand-new era, it’s one of his most grounded, mature records to date. There are numerous guest collaborators too, from Khalid to Chance the Rapper and Burna Boy, all blending in seamlessly alongside Bieber. His vocal sounds overproduced at times, but the occasional falsetto reminds listeners why he’s one of the biggest pop stars out there. It won’t be for everyone, and might only inspire those madly in love, but Justin Bieber won’t care: he’s madly in love and has thus found himself a more comfortable spot in the spotlight for now.
Justice is released on 19th March 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Justin Bieber’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Peaches here: