BY Henry Hamilton 

Returning from hiatus, Justin Bieber’s Changes is dedicated to a reclamation of his sense of purpose, and is an expression of dealing with ‘deep-rooted issues’. 

For that reason, Changes is both a confession of personal hardships, and a declaration appreciating the positives in his life. In more ways than one, Bieber’s artistic process in producing this album has proven healing.

Admittedly, I couldn’t agree with Bieber’s suggestion that Changes and the thoughts expressed within are necessarily the basis for a ‘movement’. Perhaps Bieber is still targeting a younger demographic, but I would like to think I’ve matured to understand and grapple with concepts highlighted as central themes: love, respect, and personal responsibility. That being said, Bieber’s handling of these concepts has nonetheless resulted in his classic, yet meaningful teen-dream sound. 

Overwhelmingly, Changes focuses on the positive influences in Bieber’s life, ranging from romantic to platonic relationships in “Intentions”, “E.T.A.”, and “Habitual”. He speaks endearingly in “All Around Me”, of his support network who are ‘fully committed’, to the point that they inspire self-improvement in “Changes”, ‘I just wanna be the best me’. Although made obvious, the influence of his wife Hayley as the strongest positive influence is complimented by Bieber’s other close relationships.

Developing on these positive influences and their ability to affect personal growth, Bieber has shown a willingness to be vulnerable and open. Made clear in “Take It Out On Me”, “That’s What Love Is”, and “At Least For Now”, he attributes this to the closeness he feels with these people. Kehlani’s feminine presence in “Get Me”, provides another easy contrast to the relationship Bieber has with wife, involving the mutual trust and genuine understanding he shares with Hayley, ‘judging by the way you open up you get me’. Here the is emphasis placed on the importance of mutual respect and effective listening.

While retaining his ‘teen-idol magnetism’, Bieber has shown his maturity. Changes features loose and fun pop tracks, “Yummy” and “Second Emotion”; balanced by a maturity in “Forever”, “Confirmation”, and “Come Around Me”. In a simple yet effective way, Bieber makes clear in “Available”, ‘‘it ain’t always bout me’. In “Running Over”, he maintains a playful and suggestive sound while still managing to convey a genuine willingness to be available and supportive, ‘right here for your consumption’.

Overall, Changes delivers the same infectious Bieber sound with a mature twist. Although being somewhat irked by the overstatement of the album as cause for a ‘movement’, Changes is still an excellent album holding important values of love, respect and responsibility.

Check out more of Henry Hamilton's work on his Instagram @henryhamiltonx

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