Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Justin Bieber Album Review: New Message, Same Talent

While Justin Bieber has not cultivated a favorable public image in the past few years, no one can deny his talent as a musician. Coming five years after the release of his last album, Purpose, his latest LP, Changes, has garnered considerable critical excitement and praise after its release on February 14. Not only does the album encompass a wide range of genres, from pop to R&B to hip-hop, but it also includes collaborations with a roster of celebrated artists including Travis Scott, Post Malone, and Lil Dicky.

Since Purpose was released in the midst of Bieber’s very public breakup with Selena Gomez, many of the songs on the album are apologetic, angry, bitter, and sad. Changes, which was released on Valentine’s Day as a homage to Bieber’s wife, Hailey Baldwin, has a different tone, with seventeen romantic, uplifting, and blissful songs

The album begins with a slow ballad called “All Around Me,” which showcases Bieber’s ability to incorporate impressive runs into his music. It reminds listeners of Bieber’s wide vocal range and establishes the intimate, romantic, and passionate tone of the album. 

“That’s What Love Is” is another personal and vulnerable ballad on Changes. The track, which incorporates staccato background acoustics and Bieber’s strong vocals, is his heartfelt attempt to put his love for Hailey into words. He sings, “Yeah, that's what love is/that's what true love is/wouldn't want nobody else by my side.” Apparently, Bieber sang this song to Hailey at their wedding, which, of course, adds even more meaning to the beautiful song. Its powerful message and backstory has resonated with many people and is a fan favorite from the album. 

The album also includes many pop songs that have already been popularized on the radio. “Yummy,” was the first single off the album, and has gotten mixed reviews from fans. While the song is extremely upbeat and catchy, the lyrics are pretty explicit. “Intentions” is another song released prior to the album and has received the best reviews of all of the songs on Changes. Its engaging melody is perfect for all occasions. As of now, it seems to be Bieber’s most popular song on the album. Part of this popularity can be credited to the fact that the track features Quavo, who has collaborated with Bieber in the past on DJ Khaled’s “No Brainer” in 2018.

“Habitual” has garnered the best reviews by critics and Bieber himself declared it one of his favorite songs on the album. The best word to describe this track would be captivating, as the hypnotic beat alongside Bieber’s seductive voice draws listeners in. Above all, the lyrics are sweet and romantic, as he sings, “my love for you's habitual/yeah, not for a moment, but forever/know it sounds untraditional, oh yeah/Never ungrateful for it, that's how we both want it, habitual.” Like many other songs on the album, the lyrics of this track evoke the passion that Bieber feels for his new wife.

Changes has received positive reviews from fans and critics so far.  Its engaging sound and romantic lyrics show another side to Bieber. Perhaps with this shift in tone, Bieber will develop a new brand for Bieber, especially after such a long hiatus. He now has the opportunity to take on a more uplifting public image in the years to come. 

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