Justin Bieber released his fifth studio album, “Changes,” on Feb. 14. The 17-track album, including a remix of the album’s lead single “Yummy,” is, frankly, never-ending. Overall, the songs were nearly indistinguishable from each other, and the mostly trivial lyrics were mind-numbing.
Though I’m sure he meant it to be a romantic gesture for his wife, Hailey, and as an album that lovers around the globe could enjoy on Valentine’s Day, this does anything but put me in the mood.
I will admit I was foolishly hopeful in the days leading up to this release. Although I’m no fan of Bieber, I thought there was potential. From the start of the album’s first track, “All Around Me,” all hope was lost.
“All Around Me” is a synth-y R&B tune that allows the singer’s admittedly smooth vocals to shine. However, the first time I heard Bieber croon the line “I need you all around me,” I thought I was listening to a contemporary Christian track. Later in the song, he sings, “Never thought I could ever be loyal // To someone other than myself,” which is a little cringe-worthy, if you ask me. Also, the track ends with the distinct sound of a baby – is there something you’d like to tell us, Mr. and Mrs. Bieber?
The album’s sound doesn’t change much when moving on to the next track, “Habitual.” With lyrics like, “We’re each other’s vice” and “My love for you’s habitual, yeah // Not for a moment, but forever // Know it sounds untraditional,” I think Hailey and Justin might have an unhealthy relationship. Also, call me old-fashioned, but when did loving someone forever become untraditional?
“Intentions,” featuring Quavo, was a more tolerable tune, with its bouncy hip-hop sound distinguishing it from the rest. The lyrics, however, are not much better. Though I’m glad Bieber has good intentions, as the song suggests, and recognizes how stunning his wife is, the line “Heart full of equity, you’re an asset” left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Hailey, I’m not sure being Bieber’s asset is a good thing.
“Take It Out On Me,” the album’s ninth track, is weird. I guess it’s nice of Bieber to offer to be Hailey’s “punching bag” when she’s frustrated, but I’m again wondering how healthy this relationship is. After hearing the lyrics, “I’m your psychiatrist, let’s talk about it // We can use sign language, I know your body,” I changed the song.
About two-thirds of the way through Bieber’s album, the sound changes, with acoustics and gentle electronics taking over. “Changes,” the album’s title track, was the first to stand out – a refreshing break from the repetitive mixture of synth and hip-hop beats. The lyrics are also more sincere, though the last line “People change, circumstances change // But God always remains the same,” was jarring after listening to Bieber in “Take It Out On Me.”
I was curious to hear Bieber’s definition of love when I selected “That’s What Love Is,” the 15th track. I was pleasantly surprised by a sweet guitar strum that continued through the song, and genuine lyrics like, “Ooh, and you can trust me // After all the lies I told you // Yeah, that’s what love is” and “So beyond what lust is // Hey, it’s a blessing that you’re in my life.” I’ll give you this one, Bieber.
“At Least For Now” continued the soft, subdued trend with a piano and soft vocals. My ears were now becoming accustomed to this gentle sound – dare I say I even enjoyed it. “At Least For Now” was a relatively short song, and the lyrics didn’t mean much: “At least for now // Trying to avoid disappointment // At least for now // One finger at a time, I turn the pages, yeah.” Nevertheless, this extended break from the album’s rocky beginning was merciful.
The final track, Bieber’s “Yummy” remix, features rising R&B star Summer Walker. The song jolted me back to the reality of the album. While Walker’s voice adds a needed sweetness, the track is just as tasteless as it was before, with her added lyrics, “Oh and your head’s on my body // In the a.m. or the p.m., you get what you need from me,” unfortunately leaving little to the imagination.
All things considered, I would rather listen to “As Long As You Love Me” on repeat for the rest of my life than listen to this album again. I applaud Bieber for the sound of his slower tracks on “Changes.” With lyrics that repeatedly left me exclaiming, “Bleh!” and an annoying, repetitive R&B/hip-hop mix, however, it’s a no from me.