From My World to Purpose, Justin Bieber has grown up in front of our eyes whether we were looking at him or not. Like most artists, each of Bieber's albums have marked a significant chapter in his life. My World and My World 2.0 gave the world a taste of a fourteen year old kid from Ontario who was transitioning from YouTube amateur to international pop star.
By the time Never Say Never was released, he was getting comfortable in the music industry, showing his playful side. At the age of 16, he had already worked with Usher, Ludacris, Jaden Smith and Kanye West but it didn't matter; there was still a certain level of shame associated with identifying as a Belieber (unless you were a teenage girl). On Believe, he had just turned 18 and he began channeling his R&B heroes from a lyrical stand point - not just vocal styling. This allowed him to be taken seriously as an artist and break away from the stigma of being a "guilty pleasure".
At 20, he released Journals, as he dove into full on R&B. This album wasn't a massive hit on the charts, but maybe that's what we (he) needed. Journals featured cameos from artists likeR. Kelly, Future, and Lil Wayne, giving Bieber credibility in the music industry across multiple genres. Bieber was no longer just a pop star, he was becoming the man that everyone wanted on their tracks.
Now Bieber is 21 and he just released his fourth album, Purpose.This album has it all: dance, soul, pop, and the classic R&Bieber that we've grown to love. The cameo list is out of control: Ed Sheeran, Travis Scott, Skrillex, Diplo, Big Sean, Nas, and Halsey have all contributed to this 21-track compilation.
The album's stand out song is title track, Purpose. This ballad goes out to everyone - fans, haters, lovers, and God. Steve James, a 17 year old prodigy who's quickly making a name for himself, produced the title track. When listening to this track, it feels like accidentally walking in on Justin reading affirmations to himself in the mirror. The sole intention of this song is to show the world that he's sorry (no pun intended). He's a young man who's going through growing pains in the public eye and Purpose is his tell all diary.
Steve James's sound created a mellow vibe, while artists like Skrillex and Diplo's contributions made some of the season's sickest dance tracks, Sorry and What Do You Mean?. No Sense featuring Travis Scott is sure to be the next dance hit from the record. The Most is a stripped down version of his summer hit with Jack U, Where are U Now?. When the EDM beats are removed, Bieber's lyrics are appreciated in a new light.
To promote Purpose, Bieber and his team have implemented a unique marketing approach. From graffiti across the globe, consistent teasers via Instagram and Twitter, taking over Ellen for #bieberweek, promotions with the driving service, Lyft....you get the idea.
As if the non-stop social media promotion wasn't enough, he even announced a three date album release party in Chicago, LA, and Houston called An Evening with Justin Bieber. These events will debut his 45 minute dance film, Purpose: The Movement, provide special guests and even a Q & A with the man himself. If you're in the area, sign up for tickets here. He also announced the dates for his upcoming Purpose World Tour.
Bieber may never be the King of Pop, but he is definitely the King of Right Now. In case you haven't seen the video that's been watched nearly 100 million times, we're Sorry.