Justin Bieber releases new album: Changes

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Justin Bieber has always been regarded as a pop culture sensation despite a five year long hiatus. The artist’s return to the music industry has been marked by the release of his brand-new album Changes which was accompanied by drama with other artists and social media coverage. In addition to the album release, his new documentary series Seasons, places Bieber’s journey under the spotlight, discussing sensitive topics and his struggles with fame. 

In a ten part video series uploaded to Youtube, Bieber reveals his experiences in the spotlight and with his marriage, with episode titles like “Leaving the Spotlight,” “The Wedding: Officially Mr. & Mrs. Bieber,” and “The Dark Season.” The videos reveal the more private side of the already elusive artist, something that many fans appreciate. Junior Natalia Gierlachowski said, “After five years of silence, it’s nice to see a different side of Justin than what we usually see on social media. The videos show his struggle, which is something he has never talked about before.” However, reviewers and students both claimed that his attempt to relate more to his audiences after his controversial past, was at best vague and inconsequential. Senior Victoria Sokolowska adds, “[The series] just felt like another attempt to stay relevant.”

His new album Changes also came out, garnering criticism over the one-dimensional sound and lack of lyrical substance. The album followed the release of his lead single “Yummy” which also received similar criticisms. Senior Victoria Jameson said, “I never was a big Bieber fan but I decided to give his new album a chance… All of the songs sounded the same and nothing stood out compared to other things he’s released.”

Celebrities are also often victims of “cancel culture” that takes the form of social media criticism. In Bieber’s case, users are always quick to bring up his controversial past, like use of inappropriate language and his support of controversial figures in the music industry such as Scooter Braun and Kanye West. However, some students don’t believe that he deserves his negative reputation. Freshman Ewa Stasiewicz said, “Justin has been popular from a very young age, so he’s allowed to make some mistakes…but fans are still allowed to hold him accountable.” 

Others voiced their disapproval over his recent comments and actions. In a post on Instagram, Bieber attempted to gain more views for his song Yummy by urging fans to “buy the song multiple times” and play the song on repeat at “a low volume…while [they] sleep.” Freshman Madeline Cannon said, “For an artist whose been around for so long it seems very desperate.” Senior Nancy Lin adds, “You should want people to listen to your songs voluntarily, not by begging on Instagram.”

His new album and video series however, reveals that he was trying to go in a new direction and begin connecting with his fans again. But according to some students, he was not candid enough. Madeline says, “2016 Justin Bieber was better.” 

Bieber’s return is a sign of social media’s and the music industry’s quick changing nature. Whether you’re a fan of Bieber or not, the artist is sure to remain in the spotlight.

Art courtesy of Amanda Renzi, Editor-in-Chief.