Justin Bieber “Changes” his outlook on sound

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Graphic Illustration by Lillian Fu

Released on Feb. 14, "Purpose" is dedicated to Justin Bieber's wife, Hailey Bieber, as the love-filled lyrics are fitting for its Valentine’s Day release. 

Sunny Li

With his last album, “Purpose,” five years behind him, singer and worldwide sensation Justin Bieber has found a new purpose in his fifth studio album, “Changes.” Released on Feb. 14, the album is dedicated to his wife, Hailey Bieber, as the love-filled lyrics are fitting for its Valentine’s Day release. 

Bieber’s album contains 17 songs, three of which were released as singles before the official release date. “Yummy” was released on Jan. 3, “Get Me” featuring Kehlani came out on Jan. 26 and “Intentions” dropped on Feb. 7. The album features various artists, including Quavo, Post Malone, Summer Walker and Travis Scott. 

“Changes” is full of slower, calm songs that show off Bieber’s vocals. Rather than the catchy hits of his previous albums, these songs are reminiscent of Bieber’s “Journals,” a 2013 digital compilation album of experimental releases with a soft, rhythmic sound. The variations in the R&B jams of the album are unified by the warm acoustic tones and simple looping beats. 

“Forever” has metallic beats and a staccato chorus featuring Post Malone and Clever, while “That’s What Love Is” wholeheartedly displays Bieber’s love for Hailey through strong and smooth vocals. “Intentions” is paired with an inspiring music video supporting the Alexandria House, a charity and shelter for women and their children. The song’s bright, easy melody is interspersed with clips of women talking about their personal story.

The song “Changes,” one of the title tracks of the album, has a guitar strumming in the background as Bieber attempts to open up about his vulnerabilities. However, the acoustic ballad falls short due to trite lyrics that repeatedly affirm “Though I’m goin’ through changes / Don’t mean that I’ll change.” While the song “Changes” is a mellow listen, it ultimately does not provide a lot of depth in terms of its meaning. 

Overall, the melodies of the album are subtler compared to his last album, “Purpose.” Though there are catchy songs, such as “Yummy,” that are meant to be on the radio, much of his album is filled with slow-burn melodies and repeated beats. However, this time Bieber seems to be more personally-fulfilled with his work.

Much of Bieber’s album is inspired by his wife, Hailey, and he shows the musical process in his YouTube docuseries, “Justin Bieber: Seasons.” He documents his personal story and musical career, opening up about his struggles with drug abuse and fame at a young age. The theme of the album and accompanying documentary seems to be the huge impact that Hailey has had on him, as he emphasizes how much she has helped provide a sense of stability after so many years in the spotlight. 

He provides a happy ending to his rocky years as a young star through this album, but the peaceful portrayal of his newfound purpose in life mostly glosses over the difficulties that love can also include, with the exception being “Available,” which refers to fears that he may be losing his connection with his lover. While showcasing his love for his wife is a nice sentiment, the songs of the album ultimately lack depth. 

Nonetheless, the album has its own value as another stage in Bieber’s life and career. It is worth a listen for providing a satisfying conclusion to Bieber’s struggles throughout his musical career, as the songs reassure listeners that love has the power to transform people. 

After a long hiatus, Bieber is back with an unassuming, laid back album that declares he has found peace with himself in his love for Hailey. Though many songs of the album do not follow the expected formula for chart-topping hits, “Changes” has meanings as a new era in Bieber’s life and leaves fans wondering what’s to come.