Justin Bieber, the young Canadian who began as a YouTube sensation more than five years ago is now 18 and has smoothly transitioned into adulthood with the new offering of his third studio album, “Believe.”
Bieber allowed fans to acclimate to his raw post-pubescent voice late last year with the release of his Christmas album “Under the Mistletoe,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in November 2011.
He finally came of age in March and the agenda on “Believe” is clear — Bieber is out to demonstrate his growth and maturity, both personally and professionally.
The record opens with “All Around the World,” which welcomes back American rapper and former collaborator Ludacris. The single possesses a big and grand sound that is perfect for large arenas and stadium concerts.
The producers of the song also managed to mimic a sound that is extremely reminiscent of Britney Spears’ 2011 infectious smash hit “Till the World Ends” that was produced by pop heavyweights Dr. Luke and Max Martin.
Bieber’s management made a smart decision by releasing “Boyfriend” as this project’s lead single. The song reintroduced Bieber back to radio with a refreshingly deeper voice, even though it contained cheesy lines at times.
“Tell me what you like, yeah tell me what you don’t. / I could be your Buzz Lightyear, fly across the globe,” Bieber raps.
By slowing things down with guitar strings and light bass, Bieber is able to showcase his organic voice on “Boyfriend” making it one of the best songs on “Believe.”
Although Bieber has cemented himself as Top 40 pop artist, “Believe” is heavily influenced by hip hop and features four popular rappers in the game right now.
“As Long as You Love Me” is assisted by G.O.O.D. Music’s Big Sean who is affiliated with Kanye West, but falls flat as another generic dubstep-abused pop record. The song is easily forgettable as Big Sean raps a mediocre and unnecessary verse towards the end.
“Catching Feelings” is the first ballad to appear on the album and is light and fluffy. “Take You” once again speeds up things with a another dubstep-influenced beat laced with guitar strings and Bieber’s soft voice.
Perhaps the most disappointing track on “Believe” is “Right Here,” which was produced by Hit-Boy who noticeably worked with Jay-Z and Kanye West on “In Paris” and features rapper Drake. Bieber drags his voice throughout this song creating a dull effect and Drake does nothing to help the cause.
“Die in Your Arms” is a highlight towards the middle of the album and has a nice holiday jingle to it — don’t be surprised to hear this one blared in popular retails stores frequented by teenagers around Christmas time. The song is backed by a gospel hymn and is one of the standout tracks of the record.
There is not much left to look forward to after “Thought of You” and “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj as the album fades away with a more encouraging tone by ending with the title track.
“Believe” will strengthen Bieber’s young fan base, but will also demand the attention of an older demographic as well. This junior release will solidify Bieber’s intentional presence, as he is sure to embark on more world tours in the future.