After five necessary years of reflection and rehabilitation, Justin Bieber returns with his newest album, Changes. Bieber has no doubt transformed from the kid star of the past as he is now a husband, exploring the sensations of being in a passionate romance, a theme that over abundantly runs through every song on the record.
In Changes, if passion for art and music is there, the listener can’t tell. Bieber’s lyrics and beats are bland, and the entire album seems half-hazardly thrown together without taking any risks. There is nothing on the record that differentiates or makes it stand out from other ordinary R&B albums.
Additionally, the lyrics on the album just makes listeners feel uncomfortable. The relationship with his wife appears obsessive and unhealthy in ways. For instance, in the song “Come Around Me,” Bieber sings “When you come around me, do me like you miss me, even though you have been with me. When I rise up, baby, don’t shy up, open your mind, don’t knock it ’till you try it, darlin’, don’t waste no time, love it when I’m in it, shawty.”
Later in the song “Intentions” he praises his wife for her looks and “assets” in the kitchen, another uncomfortable moment. Similarly, the song “Yummy,” one of the most talked about tunes on the record, is yet another track that displays Bieber gushing over Hailey in a compulsive manner.
At this point in the album, listeners are dying for more character and personality in Bieber’s songs. He continues to obsess on his wife in the song “Available,” which is about how available he is for her to be constantly at his side. Manipulative tones emerge when he says how he “get[s] frustrated when you’re busy, lately, that’s been more than often, baby, what is this? It’s like, do you even miss me?”
In the song “E.T.A” Bieber even asks his wife to drop a pin on the Maps app so he knows how long it will be till she is home again: “Drop a pin for me now, so I can learn your location. Thank you, yes, you’re less than five minutes away from me.” Bieber claims to be sober, going through changes; however, from the lyrics in his new album it seems he has found another addiction in the form of love and he may go to any extent to keep her in his control. The content overall appears unhealthy, making it difficult to groove to like a good R&B album should.
Most of the tunes feel like filler rather than songs of substance. Some of the lyrics are relatable, such as in “Changes” when he says,“ I’ve been going through changes but that don’t mean I’ve changed.” These instances are few and far between, however.
To be fair, songs like “Take it Out on Me” have an engaging beat; however, Bieber could have done much more with it than what he delivered. The potential is there, but he falls short.
Furthermore, Bieber gives ordinary and familiar vocals – disappointing since he reached popularity on a case of his extraordinary singing voice. What fans needed was for him to push himself vocally and display a sense of passion for the craft. When only a year prior to the album’s release he mentioned he was retiring, it seems that Changes was a rushed, half-hearted project.
Perhaps if Bieber made Changes less about edgy, addictive sensualism and more about the journey he has been on in the five years since his last album, Changes could have lived up to the anticipation. Unfortunately for Bieber, fans are only left feeling unsatisfied and awkward.