By Diana Vasquez, April 13, 2021
When Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Bieber released his initial singles with exciting artist features for his latest album, “Justice,” audiences anticipated the project to be mind-blowing. However, the album’s repetition of concepts only brought a few songs success and misled the audience with the theme.
Released on March 19 by Def Jam Records, “Justice,” Bieber’s sixth studio album, consists of 22 songs with a mixture of ‘80s pop-inspired jams, gospel sounds, groovy tunes and electric piano. The album produces a few summer jams and pop romances that grasp attention, but this project had the potential to go beyond Bieber’s usual output.
Though it could have been outstanding, “Justice” falls short due to the lack of creativity with tired themes advocating for something mundane like needing the love of someone — a topic we have seen in every past album since he was 16.
Although the inspiration behind the album was to elevate the conversation of justice for the healing of the world, nowhere in the album is there a conversation on it. Due to this reason,
Bieber was criticized for using Martin Luther King Jr.’s samples — a concept that was truly bothering due to Bieber’s self-interpretation of King’s statements to fit his songs.
Diving into the first track of the album, “2 Much” begins with lyrics derived from King’s famous Letter from Birmingham Jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Disregarding King’s original message, Bieber’s song transitions to focus on being scared about losing someone he loves. Without King’s sampled words, “2 Much” is a sonically soothing song with relaxing piano chords as the lyrics talk about profoundly loving someone.
The lyrics and instrumentals in the first song started strong but the rest of the album touches on the same subject and bores the audience as the monochromatic love theme goes on.
Track seven, “MLK Interlude,” includes snippets from King’s sermon where he discusses dying for the great cause of social injustice. These words talk about how if one does not stand up for the cause of the social movement, the individual is not truly alive. After hearing King’s speech, the audience expects Bieber to follow with a track that will strengthen these emotional feelings on injustice.
However, Bieber’s track eight, “Die For You,” transitions into a song that speaks about dying for a girl who is a “danger to the masses.” This track features Dominic Fike, an artist who brings a mixture of guitar strings and upbeat instrumentals that sounds great musically, but Bieber fails, once again, to incorporate the message on justice despite the album’s intention — which is especially disappointing due to the timeliness of the topic as police office Derek Chauvin stands trial for the murder of George Floyd after a national protest against police brutality and racial inequities erupted last year.
The few songs worth giving this album a listen are those with features that boast the mixture of different vocal tunes, like “Holy” — a beautiful gospel-inspired, piano-heavy song with a welcoming feature from Chance the Rapper. The single, “Lonely,” also flaunts the singer’s angelic vocals but takes a sharp detour from the rest by discussing the darkness behind fame.
One of the most successful singles is “Peaches,” featuring artists Giveon and Daniel Caesar. Breaking records by debuting as No. 1 in the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts, it reached 30.6 million streams and 16,000 downloads on March 25, according to Billboard. By the following week, the single not only remained as No.1 on Billboard, but it also increased streams by 83.1 million.
With jazzy keyboard chords, “Peaches” is orchestrated as a groovy song that’s suitable to easily jam with friends or while cruising down the coast. Giveon’s strong, deep vocals and Caesar’s soothing voice adds soulful R&B vibrancy. The lyrics to the song were basic but the instrumentals, along with the vocals, made for a catchy song that can be played on the radio nonstop.
It was unfortunate that Bieber missed the opportunity to release a unique, impactful project, but the album’s few songs that feature artists have soothing tunes that may be worth listening to for those who enjoy romantic melodies.
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