With a projected 440K units shifted by the 23rd, those who hoped Believe would dog are in for a disappointment. Though it only had one "Boyfriend" to ride on, Justin Bieber's john hancock on any pop confection was enough. And so the little girls (and guys) signed on and moved on up the charts Believe did.
And I guess it deserves to but any serious follower onfmodern pop would probably agree that it peaked 2009/2010 and has been spinning its wheels since then. from Katy to Gaga to BEPs to Usher to the Bieb himself, it was as if there was a place where pop dance and, maybe not art, but artfulness met. And if this was Dr.Luke and Guetta and Red One's handy work, well, so what?
But the moment passed and ever since BEP's "The Beginning", it has been a seen running on fumes. The pop album as soulless summer blockbuster. The record as million seling (more or less or much less) event.
Which leads us to Justin "Almost Grown" Bieber, who has thrown everything he, and everybody else, has, at the wall on Believe. A pop music event: I remember being a preteen and reading in Tiger Beat how Lee Majors had grown up in the new season of TV Western "The Big Valley". When I got around to watching it, it was more of the same, though his hair was less blonde and more brown. Essentially, that's what Bieber is up to.
Believe follows in the footsteps of his previous album One World (all the stuff in between has been just huffing and puffing) only its less Brown and more blonde, less pop, more dance, and, since Usher is making a fortune off the boy, filled with guest turns/ Like Drake (terrible) and Nicki Minaj (terrible) and Big Sean (not bad) plus a cast of thousands.
You've heard it all before. this is overprocessed pop pap and if it works, both "Boyfriend" and "Die In Your Arms" are first rate product, it's the exceptions. Mostly, this is so undistinguished as to be undiscernible. from forays into rap are unspeakable, the dance less so. the aggressiveness fels fake and the desire posturing. There is a reason for this stuff: to make money, but Bieber seems like the boy who won the lottery here and he didn't before.
I have nothing to say about these, even the beats are old and old fashioned. In the post-Skrillex age, they don't dare a thing. The vocals are dreadful, the lyric by committee. It is hugely disappointing and its only saving grace is if it continues to sell.Here is a list of the writers of "Die" (it samples MJ by the way): "Jenkins, Dennis "Aganee" Jenkins, Travis Sayles, Thomas Lumpkins, Kelly Lumpkins, Bieber, Berry Gordy, Alphonso Mizell, Freddie Perren, Deke Richards, Herb Rooney." I don't know what to make of that list -it doesn't seem quite possible.
Bieber gets a credit on about half the tracks and undoubtedly that was for the lyrics which could've been written by your 13 year old teen daughter. Song after song, from the title track to arch dance "She Don't Like the Lights" to opening salvo All Around the World" the songs just don't sound so great. Will it sell? It has sold. But they've already released their two surest shots and what will they have after that?
Bieber seems like a nice enough kid and has handled teen idol adulation as well as anybody and better than most, but you don't get points for being a good little pop star, you get points for selling records and I don't see how this product will sell much better than, say, Minaj's awful pop move second album. Except for "Starships" it is a buried mess.
Finally, Bieber is about the teen gals not about the dancefloor and he can't mature if he can't provide more songs like "Die In Your Arms" -he needs the money shot whether he is 18 or 28. And he doesn't have it nearly often enough here.