Justin Bieber's Believe: A Friendly Chat About Its Merits, Its Hooks, And Its Foray Into "Arena Moombahton"


Justin Bieber, "Out Of Town Girl"

MJ: The key to him being alone is I think the fact that he's a solo male who skews more pop than R&B.

NM: Well, he'll always have Scooter.

MJ: Which might be more of a boon to him in the end, since Justin Bieber The Brand [tm] will probably make more money than Justin Bieber the musician.

NM: Oh absolutely, not that the two are really separable.

MJ: Well, Timberlake is trying to do just that...

NM: What do you mean?

MJ: Don't you think he's trying to enter the post-musician phaseof his career?

NM: Sure, but I think the fact that he was (is?) a musician is a key part to that brand. Like, I was re-watching the criminally underrated Southland Tales recently, and even though he's acting his character, a scarred sniper who has just returned from Fallujah, gets a lot of its depth from the way in which it's ramen-haired Justin Timberlake from N*SYNC looking through the scope. Then when (if?) he returns to the studio, all of the work he's been doing in the mean time will become the basis for the narrative that surrounds the eventual album. Ditto Bieber: The Believe record is only one arm of a brand that will continue developing up to and maybe beyond the point where he stops making music and/or eventually goes bald.

We're pretty far from where we started right now, but we're also back talking about narrative, so maybe this is a good time to begin wrapping this up? Do you have some final thoughts?

MJ: Yes, I have three.

1. I think "Thought Of You" could be a late-summer anthem. It's ideal for those nights when the vague awareness that the fun is about to end is just starting to take hold.


Justin Bieber, "Catching Feelings"

2. "Catching Feelings" has a breezy, "Irreplaceable"-as-sung-by-Lloyd feel, and I think it could break over to the always-crucial-if-never-spoken-of adult-contemporary market. But I feel like a lot of this is dependent on people understanding what the song's title means.

3. Twice during the listening session I wrote down "'My Girls' synths." Do you think the Biebs is taking subtle cues from Pitchfork???

NM: I think that's a good note to end on. Perhaps we should agree to meet back here two years from now and debate his next LP's Britt Daniels and A$AP Ferg features?

MJ: Sounds like a plan!!

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