Bieber Breaks Spotify’s All-Time One Week Record With New Album

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Justin Bieber serenades ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez with song ‘My Girl’.

On the same day when Justin Bieber sang ‘My Girl’ for his former girlfriend Selena Gomez in a hotel, the two were seen strolling over the streets and confirming their reunion. The ‘Good For You’ hit-maker was captured putting her left hand on the 21-year-old singer’s shoulder as they walked near the hotel in Beverly Hills, E! Bieber, who dropped his new album Purpose in mid-November, has been on an apology tour of sorts, attempting to gain back ‘beliebers’ after scandalous behaviour that included an arrest. For former child stars, the cycle comes with the territory: the standard foibles of young adulthood play out in public, creating an opportunity for a young singer or actor to emerge, mature and recovered, on the other side.

Previously, it was revealed the ‘Sorry’ singer proceeded to sit at the piano and serenade his former gal-pal with a sweet rendition, after which they together slow danced in front of the small audience. Bieber achieved fame by putting a twist on pubescent infatuation, creating candy-sweet pop with a hip-hop swagger, and it’s worth taking a brief tour of the trouble he’s got into in the past couple of years, if only as a reminder of how far he’s come. His behavior was so volatile that when he was photographed spitting over a Toronto balcony the media assumed that he was aiming at a group of fans below.

But its satisfying blend of qualities—a delicate dance beat, extraterrestrial vocal flourishes, measured exuberance and self-reflection—came to define much of Bieber’s year. Along with “Where Are Ü Now,” his singles “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry” put him in an unexpected position, pumping out effortless sentimental Tropicália. But the rest of “Purpose,” Bieber’s fourth studio album—and his first since “Believe,” in 2012—largely disposes with that lighthearted spirit to make way for a subdued and grave Bieber. He has either retreated so deeply into a state of contrition that he has lost his taste for fun or, more likely, become so fatigued by the process that he can’t muster the energy required to have any. On “Company,” he makes a romantic non-gesture that encapsulates his lukewarm desire for connection: “Maybe we can be each other’s company.” Often his restraint, delivered in the form of muted R. & B. and mid-tempo dance-pop, drifts toward lethargy. “Purpose” is not subtle about Bieber’s desire for rebirth.

On many songs, a love interest acts as a stand-in for a public that has turned on him. “Is it too late now to say sorry?” he asks on “Sorry,” which débuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. At times, he turns his reflection outward, shifting from anguished to spiritually enlightened and then evangelical: “We’re the inspiration—do you believe enough to die for it?” As a vocalist, Bieber can jump from the choir to the dance club. He sounds his best at close range, which is unfortunately rare on “Purpose,” the exception being a spare guitar song called “Love Yourself.” With a few simple chord changes reminiscent of John Mayer, his newfound composure yields to vengeance. “Maybe you should know,” he sings sweetly, as if gearing up to deliver a declaration of affection, “that my momma don’t like you, and she likes everyone.” On “Love Yourself,” a brutal kiss-off disguised as a folk ditty, Bieber confronts a specific woman but also castigates the peers for whom selfies have thwarted self-reflection. “If you like the way you look that much, oh baby you should go and love yourself,” he sings.

Bieber’s petulance, it turns out, is as compelling on a record as it is off-putting in real life. “Love Yourself” points to a well of emotion that “Purpose” mostly doesn’t tap. The song prompts the listener to wonder what it would sound like if Bieber truly engaged with the ugly side of his downfall. “Purpose” shows how timeworn conventions can fail musicians, causing them to release work that is awkward, bloated, and inert. The expectation that Bieber should apologize for his behavior, and tether that apology to an outmoded medium like an album, helped set him up for a degree of disappointment. Even as the Internet has fractured the consumption of music, albums persist as economic tent poles, particularly for stars who are still able to generate sales.

An artist like Bieber, who balances online popularity with conventional prominence, must cater both to the ravenous appetites of the Internet and to the structural traditions of the industry. He could have stopped his campaign with the colorful, meme-generating “Sorry” video and made a stronger statement than he has with “Purpose,” which obstructs rather than defines his vision. Bieber dubbed “Journals,” which is not quite an album, his “creative project.” The songs crept online without much in the way of traditional promotion from Bieber’s label, flying as far under the radar as is possible for an artist with a fan base passionate enough to overwhelm Instagram’s servers.

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