Justin Bieber’s life has been hectic these last few weeks. Norwegian women chased him on boats. Parisian paparazzi pursued him on bicycles. In London he rocked in front of 88,000 fans at the Summertime Ball in Wembley Stadium, then days later he more than doubled that crowd, performing in front of about 200,000 at a free show in Mexico.
At yesterday's listening session for Justin's much-anticipated Believe album at Island/Def Jam's New York City offices, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun made two points perfectly clear: Justin Bieber is a huge star and he works very very hard. The music on his official sophomore album makes another point: JayBee has grown plenty as an artist.
Many have raved about how Believe will be Justin’s coming-of-age album—his Off the Wall, his Justified. But what they fail to realize is that Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake released those albums in their early 20s, not the fresh 18 that Bieber is now. Still, the eight months he spent crafting Believe were well spent.
Bieber proves that he’s a better singer and songwriter on Believe, often injecting elements of his personal life—as on the “Billie Jean”-esque “Maria.” But more often than not, the subject matter is light. And that’s OK. There will be a time for his “Cry Me a River” or “She’s Out of My Life.”
What’s coolest of all is that this album doesn’t sound forced, and it appears that it may make all the haters do what Scooter so badly wants them to do—“shut the fuck up.” So click through for Complex's track-by-track reactions to our first listen of Believe.
Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)