On May 19, 2021, Justin Bieber released his 6th studio album, Justice. The 16-track album focuses on supporting the world’s emotions amid the Covid-19 global pandemic. In a Rolling Stone interview, he shares his inspiration for this project: “In creating this album my goal is to make music that will provide comfort…Music is a great way of reminding each other that we aren’t alone…” Alongside astounding artists such as Givēon, Daniel Caesar, Khalid and Dominic Fike, he delivers an album that focuses on love, faith and overcoming pain.

Love Songs For Hailey

Similar to his last album, Changes, the lyrical content of a majority of Justice is Justin’s feelings and passion for his wife, Hailey Bieber. The album’s intro track, “2 Much”, is just that. Its heartfelt chorus gives us insight on how much Justin adores his wife and appreciates every moment with her. “Don’t wanna close my eyes, I’m scared I’ll miss too much/Don’t wanna fall asleep, I’d rather fall in love…/Two seconds without you’s like two months/And that’s too much”. These loving lyrics set the tone for the rest of the album. 

The energetic dance track “Deserve You” has a similar feel to it. With lyrics that highlight how grateful he is to have his wife in his life. He makes known that their relationship is his greatest blessing. The love he has for her is immense and he wouldn’t give that up for the world. He uses the chorus to repeat the lyrics, “I don’t deserve you tonight”. Bieber insists that he is not worthy of his wife’s affection because of his previous unfavorable actions.

Another mid-tempo dance track on the album is “As I Am”, which features singer-songwriter, Khalid. This is their first collaboration. Bieber and Khalid express their gratitude for the love they receive from an unnamed person. Certainly, Justin could be giving thanks not only to his wife, but also his fans and team for being so loving and having faith in him despite his unhealthy habits. “Take me with the good and the ugly, say I’m not going anywhere”.

A New Era For Justin Bieber

“Holy”, featuring Chance the Rapper, is the lead single from Justice. The song and music video were released back on September 20, 2020. This song marks the beginning of a “new era” for Justin Bieber and his music. He has been vocal about his journey with faith since around 2014.   

Fans showed their enjoyment of Justin’s incorporation of non-secular themes in his music. Consequently, a week after its release, “Holy” charted #3 on Billboard Hot 100. Also, the music video has surpassed 134 million YouTube views.

Following “Holy” is “Unstable”. It features 17-year old Australian singer, rapper Kid LAROI. Justin Bieber and Kid LAROI sing about how their spiritual relationship with the Lord carries them through times of anxiety and self hate. The pre-chorus lyrics paint a picture of someone realizing they’re protected and cared for even in their worst moments. “I tried to scare you, scare you away/Showed you the door, you adored me anyway/When I was broken in pieces/You were my peace of mind”.

Peaches

Justin Bieber shows some musical versatility with the pop & R&B styled “Peaches”. It features two talented R&B/soul singer-songwriters, Givēon and Daniel Caesar. Given that fan’s admiration for Justin’s past musical expression through R&B on Journals is still evident, “Peaches” receives similar respect. The catchy chorus is what hooks people’s attention to this high-spirited love song. Over a drum and guitar heavy track, Justin sings, “I got my peaches out in Georgia (Oh, yeah, sh–)/I get my weed from California (That’s that sh–)/I took my chick up to the North, yeah (Bad a– b—-)/I get my light right from the source, yeah (Yeah, that’s it)”

Justin sports a pastel peach colored suit and shows off his disco dance moves in the music video. Undoubtedly, there is an 80’s pop music influence that weaved its way into this song’s production. Groovy is definitely the best way to describe how this song feels.

Empty Activism

Being that the album title is Justice, one would expect there to be a consistent theme of justice or injustice. After listening to the album in its entirety, there is little to no lyrical content focusing on social/racial injustice issues. There are only implications of our world’s current state of distress through the use of Martin Luther King Jr’s quotes. It would be ideal if Justin Bieber sang or spoke about the injustices that MLK mentioned in his speeches as a way of continuing the conversation.

The album opens up with King’s voice saying, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is from his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Subsequently, about halfway through the album, there is a 2 minute track titled “MLK Interlude”.  It is an excerpt of King’s November 5, 1967 sermon titled, “But If Not”. “That if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live…Or you’re afraid that you will bе criticized…You died when you refused to stand up for justice”. 

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