Review : Justin Bieber - Believe
BillboardSince "My World 2.0" was released in March 2010, Bieber has toured the world, released a 3D movie, issued every piece of merchandise available (do YOU have your Justin Bieber trading cards handy?), and even scored two more No. 1 albums, first with a "Never Say Never" remix package, and then with a very solid holiday offering, "Under The Mistletoe."
Those latter two releases gave Bieber's rabid fans a quick fix and hinted at the pop superstar's newfound maturity, all while whetting appetites for "Believe," his highly anticipated new full-length. Unlike with artists such as Lady Gaga or Rihanna, the trajectory of Bieber's career has been based more on the 18-year-old as a person and brand more than a slew of hit singles -- "Baby" certainly seems like a long time ago, and we, as music fans, have gotten to learn everything imaginable about this good-looking Canadian kid before hearing its grown-up follow-up singles. ...full text
GuardianEmploying stars such as Nicki Minaj and Drake is a judicious move in the credibility drive. Unlike Bieber, they're proper adults, not an 18-year-old who, if Boyfriend is anything to go by, is hopelessly jejune in his wooing: his curiously 70s vision of romantic sophistication involves "chillin' by the fire while we eatin' fondue". Despite the rapping, which has about as much bite to it as molten cheese, "Boyfriend is smoking. The high-pitched whistle noise that begins it recalls Britney Spears's lubricious Toxic and it's a welcome shock to hear a Justin Bieber song and wonder if we're allowed to describe it as "sexy".
Britney is one of the record's several superstar reference points and with them Bieber seems to be staking a place in pop history. There's the Timberlake nod of "hey Senorita" on Take You, a Prince homage ("We all party like it's 3012 tonight") plus a shout-out to Beyoncé's beginnings with the words: "You can be my Destiny's Child". The blissfully descending melisma of a five-syllabled "die" in Die in Your Arms sounds like a forgotten Jackson 5 gem. In fact, the track samples Michael Jackson's We've Got a Good Thing Going and bonus track Maria is another MJ-esque treat – a paternity-protesting song to file right next to Billie Jean. Bieber's final burst of "she's not my girl!" is uncanny....full text
Rolling StoneThe rise of Justin Bieber was such a blinding explosion of hair and smiles and YouTube cuteness that it was easy to miss his music's ironic achievement: its light touch. His first two releases – the 2009 EP My World and 2010's full-length My World 2.0 – were snuggle-fresh and butterfly-light, luxuriating in R&B bubblegum and first-blush puppy lust. At a time when 12-year-olds can get porn on their iPod Touches, the Biebs made flirty innocence thrive.
But Justin's 18 now, legal and, according to Believe, fully lethal. "Swag, swag, swag on you/Chillin' by the fire while we're eating fondue," he sings on the sinewy electro-pop single "Boyfriend," easing the transition from pup to playa in one of the year's more awesome lyrics. On Believe, Biebs' voice has deepened (physically and digitally), the beats are more driving and libidinous, the sonic settings more intense and wide-ranging. Bieber aspires to the tight versatility of his benefactor Usher, who is one of the album's executive producers.
Bieber's revamped sound makes room for universalist Euro-house ("All Around the World") and high-drama hip-hop boom ("As Long as You Love Me"), and on "Right Here," Drake and Bieber go low-talking Lothario to low-talking Lothario. It's cosmopolitan pop sophistication, designed to make this the Bieber album 18-and-over folks can like without feeling like they're joining NAMBLA.
WikipediaBelieve is the third studio album by the Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber, and will be released through Island Records (Universal Music Group) first on June 15, 2012, in parts of Europe.
The album received generally positive reviews. It has a score of 66% on review aggregator Metacritic.
While BBC News noted Bieber's ongoing "tween appeal," it also examined his gradual stylist evolution from his previous album. The New York Times noted the search for maturity Bieber exhibited. It complimented the natural strength of his voice, which did not need as much technical enhancement as it did previously. Entertainment Weekly praised the pop star's evolution, calling the album both a "reinvention and a reintroduction." Rolling Stone noted the deeper voice and more intense beats found on the album, although it lampooned one of his euphemisms for newfound sexual maturity.
The New York Times noted the difficulty Bieber faced in creating the album - a tension between his love of R&B and the profitability of pop music - while suggesting that his "savvy compromises" made the conflict manageable. Entertainment Weekly praised the variety of audiences for the album, calling it "the rare album that tries to be everything to everyone and largely succeeds."
Reviews of the vocals on specific songs were mixed. The New York Times review complained of certain songs where Bieber "sounded bored" and un-like himself, although other tracks were said to show him when he "leans on his instincts." The review credited Bieber for his "limber and wounded" vocals. It suggested that Bieber's voice would continue to evolve, and that in a few years it could fully express "angst." It said Bieber was "more credible when begging or retreating," while BBC News stated similarly that "his confidence, for the most part, [is] played down."...full text
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