On his Valentine’s Day release, Justin Bieber hasn’t sounded better, or even much more in love. Nevertheless, the nonstop bedroom romanticism does not leave much space for exploring expressing or demons joy.
Justin Bieber – Changes Album REACTION
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Justin Bieber still doesn’t get the credit he’s earned. The string of celebrity relationships, the bad-boy behavior, the tattoos, and ever-evolving hair designs and hues — these things have had a tendency to distract from the obvious, which is: That boy could sing. He’s a blue-eyed soul stirrer who somehow always has avoided sounding like a white man trying to pass for black. His R&B trends are natural and unforced and, above all, not gratuitously flashy.
Justin Bieber has never felt better, either, from all indications. “Changes” is the noise of a reformed amorous closing the blinds to shut out the world, then spending a weekend in bed together with an object of his affection, coming up with various ways to say “You complete me” And therein lie its limitations: For as many ways as there are to say” You complete me,” Bieber keeps skimming their surface.
His voice and the production are flawless, and his spirit is in the right place — but there is something airless about the record, too, like he might have left the window open a crack to allow some sunshine in. For a Valentine’s Day album about love in blossom, it sounds surprisingly dark and serious, with a one-track-mind.
In the decade since Bieber burst onto the scene, the Canadian singer-songwriter has shown demonstrable growth as both a vocalist and a recording artist, not releasing the same album twice. Over the course of five studio collections, such as the 2011 holiday set “Beneath the Mistletoe,” each new one has seemed entirely distinct from the one that preceded it. That’s partial because Justin Bieberalways was so in step with the ever-changing pop occasions that every release has become a type of sonic time capsule of the age in which it was established.
“My World 2.0,” in 2010, was shrouded at the type of happy-go-lucky pop that dominated the decades before it. “Believe” negotiated the dance sounds which were hot circa 2012 while starting his slow swerve in the R&B lane. It is his most unabashedly R&B album nevertheless, culminating at the snare sound of those times and retro’70s soul, together with Bieber effortlessly gliding between a rubbery tenor and an airy falsetto.
In an age when most pop albums are made by committee, “Changes” is among the most cohesive ones because Ariana Grande appeared “Thank U, Next” (also, interestingly, her fifth studio record ) on us nearly exactly one year ago.
The pristine, acoustic track”About Me” floats into the softly percussive”Habitual,” which floats into the springtime measure of”Come Around Me,” such as an elongated romance suite. Justin Bieber is more concerned with setting a disposition than pumping out hooks (though”Come Around Me,” a historical highlight, still manages to be gooey and ear-wormy), then”Intentions,” all jaunty, roof-down swinging, comes along and offers the closest thing to a traditional pop melody on the album.
What’s missing is joy, an uptempo tune (or 2 ) that screams, “Yeah!” (to quote the name of the largest strike by Bieber’s former mentor, Usher Raymond). Justin Bieber has learned to respect the power of love, but he seems too earnest and reverential to sit back and truly enjoy it. Now, common, get happy, it is all over.