How Justin Bieber pulled off the comeback of the year

For a while there, it looked as if Justin Bieber's pop career might be slipping away in a flurry of shocked news reports. And yet, his current domination of the very top end of the singles chart - with three singles in the Top 5 - is confirmation that he's more popular as an adult than he was as a teenager.

The question is, how did he do it?

All you need is one good song

The Justin Bieber of 2014 was far more famous for his various tussles with law enforcement officers than he was for his music. And yet, all it took to turn everything around was one killer song.

Where Are Ü Now (produced by Jack Ü; Diplo and Skrillex working together) took Justin out of the immaculate realms of confident superpop and gave him a fresh context within dance music. When it was followed by the equally sharp and inquisitive What Do You Mean, a gateway to a whole new audience had been opened up.

He's still got heavy friends

[LISTEN] Cel speaks to Justin about the collaborators on Puropse

For his new album, Purpose, Justin continued to work with Skrillex and Diplo, and enlisted the support of songwriter-for-hire Ed Sheeran (Love Yourself), as well as guest spots from Halsey (The Feeling), Big Sean (No Pressure), Nas (We Are) and Travis Scott (No Sense). And as this BBC News report illustrates, his lyrics are riddled with apologies for past misdemeanours.

His album is called Purpose on purpose

I feel like I found my purpose again"

This interview with Grimmy nails the key moment of transition, in which the 21-year-old man takes greater control of his life, having learned lessons from his youth.

He said: "I named the album Purpose...because, for a while there, I feel like I lost my purpose, and I feel like I found my purpose again."

Incidentally, this is the interview Grimmy mentions from three years previously, the very first interview on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show:

I feel like I found my purpose again"

And just in case anyone misses the unpredictable kid with a lot to learn...

He's still a wild card

It's not as if things won't ever go wrong again. In October 2015, Justin walked offstage during a gig in Norway, having lost patience with his audience during an attempt to wipe water off the stage with a towel. He later apologised on Instagram.

He's not a role model any more

This interview with Justin from 2010 is fascinating, given that he was 16-years-old at the time and being told his behaviour may have a direct influence on the behaviour of others. When he says, "I'm a role model for so many people, so I want to be a positive one - I want to make good decisions," that's an impossible standard to meet.

And notice that he gets most animated at the thought of sending messages to Craig David in song title form? That's because he's a kid and a music fan, and it's fun.

He's not done yet

I forgot how much I loved being on stage... and I think I took it for granted"

The most important factor in the rehabilitation of Justin Bieber has been his acceptance by music fans in club music circles, far outside of the realms of chart pop. And while the quality of the songs is the key factor, some of that has come from his public acknowledgement that, yes, things did get a little bit crazy and he's still trying to be a better man, but for himself this time.

In this interview with Annie Mac, he admits the pressure and the wild living distracted him from the job in hand: "I think for a while there I forgot how much I loved being on stage, how much I love doing what I do and I think I took it for granted a little bit."

I forgot how much I loved being on stage... and I think I took it for granted"

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