Home » A+E » Review: Justin Bieber’s ‘Believe’ a mediocre manifesto on manhood

Review: Justin Bieber’s ‘Believe’ a mediocre manifesto on manhood

Justin Bieber is mature and stuff now. Out with the catchy, bubble gum pop songs and in with mature Bieber, who turned 18 and wants you to know just how 18 he is by slicking back his hair and pretending like he’s somehow crash-landed in the ’50s on the set of “Grease.”

“Believe” is Bieber’s third studio album and he really, really needs you to know that he’s a man now, gosh darnit.

He is no longer that stupid little child responsible for those stupid childish songs because children are just stupid.

“Boyfriend” is the album’s lead single, presumably because Bieber wanted you to know ASAP that he’s old enough now to think girls are no longer “ewwwy gross.” It’s got a distinct R&B vibe to it, which is Bieber’s not-so-subtle way of shouting, “I’m mature now and I like girls!”

If I haven’t lost you yet, please listen to “Right Here.” I think the world has decreed that you don’t have any R&B clout in 2012 unless you do something with Drake, and, by golly, Bieber has done it.

“Right Here” lets us know he and Drake will kiss us and love us and frolic through a meadow after a cool spring rain with us. After listening to this one, I felt compelled to drink a six-pack of Budweiser while watching the big sports game just to recover the feeling men get from knowing they’re men.

Nicki Minaj appears on “Beauty and the Beat,” but unfortunately I stopped listening 12 seconds in because I heard her and not “Tale as old as time / True as it can be.” Oops.

I admit that I don’t hate “As Long As You Love Me.” The track features Big Sean and I like it because I like Big Sean, not because Bieber wants you to know he will love me even if he’s broke, even though he probably wrote the song while swimming in a pool full of Canadian Euros or whatever they have there.  

Don’t be disingenuous with me, punk.

“All Around The World” has a bit of house flavor, though the track is largely standard club fare. Then comes Ludacris, who says nothing of consequence, other than reiterating that people all around the world are all the same because we all want love. That’s deep. Seventeen-year-old Bieber could have never come up with insight like that, so let’s all be thankful he’s old and wise now.

“Catching Feelings” is a funny track because it’s called “Catching Feelings.” That’s cool-person lingo for “that person has feelings about something,” but Bieber is friends with Usher, so he’s allowed to say it the cool way. It’s acoustic, as is “Fall” and “Be Alright,” so you’ll probably catch a lot of feelings you never wish you had for Bieber.

In “Take You,” Bieber lets me know he “can take me home, girl.” Thank you for that offer. I’m sure I will need a ride home from something sometime, so I’ll keep a mental note of that.

In “Die In Your Arms,” he tells us he will die if you don’t hug him or something, so please hug him so he’ll stop being a drama queen.

“Thought Of You” is probably the album’s most sonically interesting and catchy track, even though he proclaims he’s in love with the thought of you, the thought of you, the thought of you … OK, we get it, chorus!

Rounding out the album are “One Love” and the title track “Believe,” but those tracks are boring.

Bieber has a new sound. It’s adult, mature and edgy because he’s adult, mature and edgy now.

We freaking get it. As much as I hate to say it, just because I don’t want to give his awful fans any pleasure, Bieber was more fun back in the old days when his music was more harmless.

“Believe” isn’t a total strikeout – I would have said it wasn’t a total cootie-monster if he were still a dumb-stupid-idiot kid – and I understand the need for artists to do something different, but don’t shove it down our throats.

I don’t know what Selena Gomez has been doing to Bieber, but its effect on your music is making me uncomfortable.

Grade: C-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.