5 big takeaways from Justin Bieber's Changes
The Canadian pop star is back with his first album in 5 years
Justin Bieber's much-hyped album, Changes, has arrived. His first since 2015's Purpose, the new album rides a wave of excitement generated by three advance tracks ("Yummy," "Get Me" and "Intentions") and a YouTube docuseries that touched on the pop star's personal struggles.
With such extraordinarily high expectations to fulfil, Changes is bound to spill a lot of ink, so let's get started.
We've listened, and here are five big takeaways.
The whole album is like a giant Valentine's Day card
This is no surprise — the album was released on Valentine's Day, after all, and Bieber has been open about how his marriage has helped him turn his life around — but we weren't prepared for its extreme, well, uxoriousness. Honestly, it's a bit much, and yet there are some really nice turns of phrase that would be perfect on a greeting card.
From "All Around Me":
Anything's possible since you made my heart melt,
Gave me the best hand that I've ever been dealt.
When I create, you're my muse,
The kind of smile that makes the news.
Can't nobody throw shade on your name in these streets,
Triple threat, you a boss, you a bae, you a beast.
I'm elated that you are my lady.
A couple of the songs will make you feel awkward
Who taught you how to drive stick?
You a fool with it, love the way you fool with it.
And the way you motion, motion in my lap,
Love the way you move with it.
Some of the lyrics, such as that quatrain from "Come Around Me," lack subtlety. It's a bit like renting a hotel room, only to discover it's next to the newlywed suite and its walls are paper-thin. Thankfully, "Come Around Me" makes up for it with its deliriously cozy vibe. The same can't be said for "Take it out on Me," the album's least compelling song.
But some lyrics will definitely make you swoon
On "Available," Bieber kicks off with these lines: "Thinkin' bout you, it ain't always 'bout me/ don't make any sense or you'll be lonely." In episode 8 of Bieber's YouTube docuseries, Justin Bieber: Seasons, Hailey Bieber opens up about feeling very lonely before the pop star re-entered her life. Following her sister's wedding, she admitted that she "couldn't stop crying because I was really lonely for a really long time."
"I get to see all these cool places, I travel and I get to experience all these really cool things," she continued. "But then I come home at the end of the night and it's just me." The episode concludes with the couple's wedding reception where Justin serenades Hailey with his 2009 song, "One Less Lonely Girl." Back then, Justin would invite one lucky girl at each of his concerts to sing that song to, but Hailey has never taken a seat onstage. "I was like, giddy, as if it was really happening, and it was so silly and so cute," she later described in an interview.
Bieber himself reveals that "wakin' up all alone ain't better, better, better," on another Changes track, "Forever." But it's clear in all of the other love songs scattered throughout the album that these two are feeling much less lonely now that they've found each other.
Bieber is working with some exciting songwriters and producers — including some of Drake's closest collaborators
While Bieber's most prominent collaborators — songwriter Poo Bear and producer Josh Gudwin — can be found all over Changes, there are a number of surprises found in the song's credits. Reggaeton producer Tainy co-wrote "Habitual." Canadian songwriting and production duo the Messengers (Adam Messinger and Magic! frontman Nasri Atweh) helped pen the album's title track.
OVO-affiliated talent also make some appearances: Dvsn's Nineteen85 (the man behind Drake's smash hit "Hotline Bling") teamed up with Majid Jordan and Timbaland on "Take it out on Me," while Boi-1da, one of Drake's essential in-house producers, is credited alongside Vinylz (Drake, J. Cole, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj) on the Kehlani-assisted "Get Me."
One of the most interesting features on Changes ,though, is JaVale McGee, a two-time NBA champion currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA star, who put out his own album, Pierre, back in 2018 co-wrote and co-produced "Available." On Instagram, McGee shared his excitement about the project, telling fans he "got the honour" to work on Bieber's album.
Some of the best vocals are on the short solo songs
Not all of Bieber's songs are destined to be high-rotation radio hits. In fact, some of his best vocals can be found on the less prominent songs. That was the case with "Trust," an overlooked bonus track on Bieber's 2015 album, Purpose.
On Changes, be sure to make time for "All Around Me," in which his multifaceted voice traverses a wide range while an ethereal harp keeps time — it's a mini masterclass. On "Confirmation," a vehicle for Bieber's gorgeous falsetto, he leaves the outtake at the beginning of the song for all to hear. And pay close attention to the title track, an intimate guitar ballad that comes across as a candid, quasi-improvisatory, beautiful moment of reflection.