Justin Bieber: Purpose review – a look back and a fresh start

(Def Jam)

Justin Bieber devotes the last two minutes of Purpose to a seemingly spontaneous monologue that addresses his bumpy coming of age and defends his behaviour: “We weren’t put in the best position to make the best decisions,” he intones, over fittingly pensive piano accompaniment. The rest of his fourth album similarly serves as a regretful look back and a fresh start; to the latter end, the musical direction owes much to co-producer Skrillex, whose unexpectedly subtle electronic palette complements Bieber’s affectedly breathy voice. The voice soon palls, but the songs are often interesting. I’ll Show You, which has him sighing “It’s like they want me to be perfect / They don’t even know I’m hurting”, is drenched in icy reverb; No Sense is a gluey trap track, with a rap from Travis Scott further gumming things up. The best of a pretty good bunch isn’t the No 1 smash What Do You Mean?, but The Feeling, a dark and woozy duet with self-consciously hip New Jerseyan Halsey, which does credit to both singers. It looks as if Bieber is finally showing his best side.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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