Justin Bieber has just announced “All Bad” will be the next jam from his creatively imagined “Music Mondays” series. Obviously, the blood sport otherwise known as the Biebs’ share of the entertainment news cycle has gone into overdrive right now, but for the purposes of this piece the spotlight is on the teen star’s art.
The previous five singles — “Heartbreaker,” “All That Matters,” “Hold Tight,” “Recovery,” and “Bad Day” (easily the catchiest) — each topped iTunes charts in multiple territories while debuting on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Heartbreaker” peaked highest at No. 13.
Each single has been strikingly different to the big, radio hits like “Beauty and A Beat,” “Baby” and songs of old. Conceived on what’s been a scorched earth Believe tour and set against a backdrop of Bieber’s overly-scrutinized breakup from actress-singer Selena Gomez, the 19-year-old’s diary-like songs offer highly personalized lyrics, off-kilter R&B productions, mature vocals atop amorphous soundscapes from producers such as T-Minus, Maejor Ali, and The Audibles.
More of this from heavyweights including, Rodney Jerkins, Drake, R.Kelly, and Future is expected either in the 10-week series or the pop prince’s upcoming album.
Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun made it clear in a recent Billboard interview that these so-called Journals songs aren’t intended for an album release but are the musical method the singer used to process his ongoing “tough time” and connect with fans. Of course, “Music Mondays” is also a shrewd profile-raiser for the Christmas Day countdown to the Jon M. Chu directed Believe movie-documentary.
“I looked at it as, ‘He didn’t write one journal’. He wrote them in different days, different emotions at different points,” Braun explains. “And I wanted people to experience what he was feeling, week to week… As each week comes, people will have a different type of song, and understand the different experience he’s going through week to week.”
Some critics are feeling Bieber’s tangent from his trademark high- pop. Uproxx’s Smoking Section praised “Heartbreaker” as “really good,” as did Slate. Over at Vibe, the follow-up single drew the comment,”‘All That Matters’ unleashes an act that may have finally found the confidence to stand on his own.”
Of “Hold Tight,” Fader opined, “Sounds like he’s trying hard to nail a singing-verging-on-rapping flow, and getting there,” while Idolator said “Bad Day’s chorus “finds Bieber flexing his falsetto, with background whoas to intensify the sense of loss — and then the song fades out leaving you wanting more.”
“All Bad” will follow last week’s “Bad Day” and a particularly incendiary tour stop in Brazil that is still pumping out headlines, none of them good. We mused before on whether Bieber intends to widen the subject matter of his songs and talk about his unprecedented year and we were dead wrong.
All will be revealed this Sunday at midnight when the single lands. Evidently Beliebers believe their boy needs a buck up. Earlier, fans sent #BeHappyJustinCauseWeLoveYou careening to No.1 on Twitter’s worldwide trends.
If they can do the same on iTunes for “All Bad,” Bieber might just be.
(Photo: Bieber Instagram, captioned “This is one loyal fan,” posted Nov. 9).