Justin Bieber’s newly released album, Believe, is going to be huge whether it’s any good or not. The 18-year-old Canadian singer rose to fame with My World and My World 2.0, acquiring millions of loyal Beliebers along the way who will, no doubt, download his album by the kilobyte-full. Having already won over legions of tweens (and their moms), Bieber is ready to play with the big kids. Believe shows Bieber growing and evolving into a more mature artist who is not afraid to take risks and experiment with genres, going from retro R&B to dubstep to gospel-backed soul pop. Although the quality of Believe is basically irrelevant to its success, that does not stop it from being an excitingly good summer pop album.
Despite endless comparisons to another famous Justin, Bieber sounds more *NSYNC than solo Timberlake, especially on the album’s slower jams, like “Catching Feelings” and “Fall.” Bieber anticipates the inevitable comparisons to Timberlake, throwing in a “Hey, senorita” nod in “Take You.” Throughout the album, Bieber pays homage to several of pop’s greatest artists, from the Beyoncé and Jay-Z shout out (“I’ll be your Hova, you can be my Destiny’s Child”) in “As Long As You Love Me” to the Prince reference (“We gonna party like its 3012 tonight”) in “Beauty And A Beat.” The blissfully sweet “Died In Your Arms” samples Michael Jackson’s “We’ve Got A Good Thing Going” and paternity-denying bonus track “Maria” is reminiscent of Jackson’s “Billie Jean” with lyrics like “That ain’t my baby, that ain’t my girl.”
Certified adult artists Drake, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and Ludacris drop by, leaving nothing impressive on the tracks besides selling power. Aside from a few really terrible lyrics, Believe is an enjoyable pop album that is certain to cause several breakouts of Bieber Fever.
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