Entertainment & Arts

Justin Bieber exposes growing pains on new album

Justin Bieber
Image caption The star has been emerged, remorseful, from a troubled transition into his 20s

Pop star Justin Bieber has used the lyrics of his new album, Purpose, to apologise for his errant behaviour over the few years.

"Talking to my conscience, I made a few mistakes," he sings on the song No Pressure. "I did it to myself, I'm the only one to blame."

Elsewhere, he asks for understanding from the public, saying: "Don't forget I'm human. Don't forget I'm real."

The album follows a period where the star frequently fell foul of the law.

In the most serious incident, the 21-year-old pled guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest after being stopped by police in Miami.

His other scrapes included egging his neighbours' house, urinating into a mop bucket in a restaurant, fighting with Orlando Bloom, and abandoning a monkey in Germany.

The former teen star previously posted a mea culpa on YouTube, admitting his behaviour had been "arrogant" and "conceited".

Image caption The star appeared at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards on Sunday

But his new album continues the apology - with the first four tracks titles almost reading as a dialogue between the singer and his fans: Mark My Words. I'll Show You. What Do You Mean? Sorry.

Bieber has undergone a brand overhaul in the past year, putting his teenpop past behind him and co-writing two global hit singles with achingly cool dance producers Skrillex and Diplo.

Their collaboration continues on Purpose which, at its best, is a crisp, minimal, house record about a young man coming to terms with adulthood.

On I'll Show You, he addresses the hysteria surrounding his every move, singing: "My life is a movie and everyone's watching - so let's get to the good part and past all the nonsense."

"Life's not easy," he continues, "and I'm not made out of steel... I gotta learn things the hard way."

Certainly, his career rehabilitation has not gone entirely smoothly. Two weeks ago, he stormed off stage in Norway after screaming fans interfered with his attempts to mop up some spilled water.

"I'm trying to wipe the floor! Give me a second, yo!" he insisted, before giving up in irritation. "Never mind, I'm done. I'm not doing the show."

On Purpose's title track, he admits "sometimes I'm weak" - while expressing how his faith helped him at his lowest ebb. "I let you in with all that I am," he sings. "You've given me purpose."

Elsewhere, the album veers into more traditional pop territory, with Ed Sheeran contributing Love Yourself - an arch and funny kiss-off to a no-good girlfriend.

"My mama don't like you - and she likes everyone," smirks Bieber over a staccato guitar line. "If you like the way you look that much, you should go and love yourself."

Throughout, the star's phrasing and harmonies are perfectly judged - but when Skrillex and Diplo take a break from the controls, the album has a tendency to slip into sludgy, formulaic R&B.

New single The Feeling - featuring rising star Halsey - is an exception, with a soaring, self-aware chorus: "Am I in love with you, or am I in love with the feeling?"

Overall, the record, which is released globally on Friday 13 November, looks set to cement Bieber's comeback after a period where his star was on the wane.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites