Is anyone else confused? I find following Justin Bieber’s eras have sort of become a game of Jenga. This new Justice era started off a little rocky for Justin with iffy perception of his lead singles “Holy” and “Lonely,” but overall seemed more promising than his last effort and the widely criticized Changes. This album is definitely more fitting for Justin’s root, but there is just one thing that is a bit confusing about it: what does justice have to do with the album?
The 27-year-old singer actually gave a decent quote in his Instagram post upon the album’s release. He noted that “I know that I cannot simply solve injustice by making music but I do know that if we all do our part by using our gifts to serve this planet and each other that we are that much closer to being united.” At face value, this is very logical. It’s important that Justin acknowledges that simply naming an album Justice doesn’t mean injustice wavers, however it doesn’t make it seem any less performative either. This sentiment seems legit, but the intention seems like an afterthought.
For an album that is mainly about his own struggles and his love for his wife, why attribute this outward goal of justice to it? It doesn’t really accomplish anything. It’s very much about where Justin is at now, so why include an interlude from MLK? It feels like Justin didn’t actually want to make an album about these topics, but after the events of last summer, was illusioned into the idea that slapping MLK inbetween love songs would bring a sense of inclusion and understanding. But, it does not.
Justin Bieber is a rich white man with a model wife, so the thinly veiled comparison between his experiences and those that face daily systemic injustice seems… in very poor taste. It’s baffling where the decision came from, given that the album is an extended love letter to his wife, Hailey. It’s difficult to ignore this weirdly and ill placed civil rights excursion, but if that can be set aside in your conscience, the album is a good pop effort. There is a nice mix of upbeat and slower tracks that showcase Justin’s vocal ability. For some reason, the tracks that primarily discuss the hardships that Justin has gone through come across as less impactful than I think he wanted. Given the little lyrical complexity that works for Justin quite often, in tracks that focus on his own struggles, it makes it lack poingency. I’d be more understanding if the title and message reflected his own personal journey, but he has stated that it is a “justice for humanity,” which makes no sense in context.
[bf_image id="s327rckq99nwg8ntrk6jztb"] This is an interesting direction for Justin. I foresee the album’s decent popularity and “Peaches” becoming the titular song of the summer with it’s infectious smoothness and flow. Despite where his faults are apparent in creative and artistic expression, Justin does a good job at reflecting on his roots of pop music, something that was sorely missed on Changes. I think many people are just pleased he isn’t describing his wife as yummy anymore, but it could do without the out of touch and ineffective racial cues.