Justin Bieber Celebrates Life On “Changes”


Justin Bieber’s new album “Changes” which dropped on Valentine’s Day expresses the artist’s love for his wife. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Sam Hadelman, Staff Writer

The other day, one of my best friends and I had a discussion about whether an artist can make an album that can be intriguing yet overtly positive with a happy outlook on life. This weekend, Justin Bieber answered that question.

Justin Bieber is a seminal act in modern music history and has been since his formative years. Though his path to success has been turbulent, he still finds himself as a superstar in today’s music ecosystem.

Bieber went through a slew of legal and behavioral issues in past years, which is nothing but expected for any child star, especially one who held such a high position in the music world. Bieber was a victim of the times, being one of the first pop acts to be fully exposed to the strong arm of both internet fandom and hate. Before people knew what “clout” was, hating Justin Bieber was an easy move for any rising star looking for validation from the entertainment industry at the time.

Still, Bieber has had an excellent career thus far. “Journals” and “Purpose” were two incredibly successful records.

Going into this album, I felt the same way I felt about Kanye West during his eras “ye” and “Jesus Is King.” Here is an artist who’s no longer in the process of creating a legacy of his career, since it has already been solidified. Justin Bieber is not suffering from the same demons he was when making “Journals” and “Purpose;” therefore, my expectations were not in line with those works. I went in with a completely blank slate, especially after the release of the singles “Yummy” and “Get Me.”

Though the Internet had a field day with “Yummy,” I really enjoyed it, except for the part where he said the word yummy. As for “Get Me,” that was pinnacle R&Bieber, with his voice floating perfectly over the gorgeous production and only elevated by a great Kehlani feature. I didn’t really know what to expect, but based on the singles, I had an inkling I’d enjoy the album.

The album’s greatest strength is its focus. The themes of the record rotate between God, Hailey Bieber and his path to unadulterated happiness. Throughout the album, he sticks to those subjects in his writing and it makes the album flow smoothly and effectively. Though these concepts become overdone at points, and lyrically they are quite baseline, like Bieber thanking Hailey Bieber’s parents for making her, it speaks to the core of the album. It’s an unfiltered celebration of Bieber’s rejuvenation.

The intimacy of the album also breaks down the barrier between Bieber and his fans, and this results in Bieber opening the window to his inner workings. “Changes” is extremely cohesive, which might account for the criticism some fans made that it all sounds the same. If an artist has one singular sound for an album and works with a handful of in-house producers like Pooh Bear, naturally the music is going to sound extremely similar. I actually prefer for artists to stick to their sound if that is what is going to result in the most quality aspects of the album.

One of the issues for me is the album’s features. Though some of them match perfectly with the aesthetic of the record, others weigh it down. Quavo, Travis Scott and Lil Dicky don’t add much flair to their respective tracks, with their contributions not flavoring the album enough to leave a good taste in your mouth. This album was about Justin Bieber and his own struggles, so any other contributions that weren’t outstanding, like Post Malone was, were not necessary.

The album is also bereft of cuts that are meant to be smash hits, as we have seen with his other records, which adds to the intimacy of the project yet may cause issues with regard to its longevity in the pop world.

As for more shining moments on the album, Justin Bieber’s vocals were as celestial as ever. He is one of those artists that is so naturally talented that even their worst performances outrank most artists’ best moments.

The handful of beats picked for the album match the energy Bieber was giving out quite well as a pairing, and we see him thrive on most songs on the album.

Justin Bieber had nothing to prove on “Changes,” yet the statement that bleeds through is that he is happy in life and nothing will disrupt that. He is not beholden to the standards of keeping up with the innovations of the industry like other artists, and for better or worse, we saw that distinctively on the album. Bieber has indeed changed, and based on this album, it’s for the better.