Feedback: 'Believe' it or not, Bieber's growing up

Justin Bieber and puberty part ways, giving him a more mature style.

By Jackson Farley | July 10, 2012

Tags: Music


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Hey there, friends! I’m Jackson, and I'm going to be a freshman at MU this fall. I run on coffee, I love a good rainy day and I have a huge crush on Beyoncé. But most importantly, I’ll be this semester’s music review columnist for MOVE Magazine! You’ll have the highly-coveted opportunity to read my ramblings every week about new albums by artists you might like. I know, you’re excited — I am too. So without further ado, let’s talk music.

Today I'm going to talk about the one, the only ... Justin Bieber. Yeah, you heard right. Bieber’s new album, Believe, came out June 15 and sold more than 300,000 copies in its debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. After previewing his new style on the album’s first single, “Boyfriend,” Bieber clearly a) is on the tail end of his long, high-pitched journey through puberty, b) has matured quite a bit since his last CD and c) still really, really, really, really likes girls.

Compared to My World, his first release, Believe has matured both musically and lyrically. No longer does he only appeal to screaming 12-year-olds — his new style reaches out to a much wider audience. Believe is a diverse album for the most part. Bieber stays true to his pop roots but also incorporates a large amount of rhythm and blues and “dance pop” into his new record. Taking after artists like Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson in some aspects, Bieber’s new style isn’t exactly “new” in the music world. However, Believe has just enough originality and uniqueness to please old and new fans alike.

Believe begins with “All Around the World,” a club-ready song that will make you hurry to find your dancing shoes. Other high-energy tracks include “Boyfriend,” “As Long As You Love Me,” “Take You” and “Beauty and a Beat.” These dance tracks work well and will definitely be favorites for a lot of fans. “Take You” is probably the most Timberlake-esque song, featuring Bieber’s lower register and falsetto — in other words, ladies, you might want to check this one out.

And what would a Bieber CD be without a few mushy, lovey-dovey ballads? It, well, wouldn’t. You can always count on Bieber to put a few of those on an album. I mean, come on, let’s not forget how much he loves the ladies.

“Fall” and “Be Alright” are practically love letters, but they’re actually good. Both tracks showcase Bieber’s incredible voice and charming personality. “Catching Feelings,” however, is one ballad worth skipping. The song fails in multiple areas: Bieber’s voice seems whiny at parts, and the lyrics are far from clever. “One Love” is another mediocre ballad. It’s by no means horrendous, but it’s also not a song with which most guys would choose to serenade their girlfriends outside a window (People still do that, right? No? Oh). And the title track, “Believe,” is essentially a letter to his fans thanking them for believing in him (Cute, right?), but it comes across as super cheesy, especially when the gospel choir comes in during the bridge. Too far, Bieber. Too far.

Believe also features a slew of special guest artists. Ludacris, Big Sean, Drake and Nicki Minaj all make appearances on tracks, but unfortunately, most of the special guests fall short. Ludacris’ part on “All Around the World” is — well, about as good as Ludacris can be, which isn’t that great to begin with. Big Sean does a little better on “As Long As You Love Me,” but his lyrics are a bit goofy and the overall flow is choppy. Nicki Minaj is probably the best feature. Her appearance on “Beauty and a Beat” stays pretty true to her style (for better or for worse) and fits the already-catchy song very well.

Overall, Believe is a successful album. It’s incredible to see the amount of growth Bieber has undergone since the beginning of his career, and it’s clear he isn’t done yet. With a new style both lyrically and musically, Believe is a huge step for Bieber because anyone who's not a hyper, infatuated preteen girl can listen to his music without feeling any shame. It probably won’t be the album of the year for most people, but it’s safe to say Believe is a great summer pop album and a huge improvement from Bieber’s debut.

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