Justin Bieber’s new album Journals hit iTunes shortly before midnight after a countdown led from the singer’s Twitter account.
The collection includes all 10 previously released Music Mondays singles, five new cuts, and three videos including the steamy “All That Matters.”
Ahead of its drop, brief teasers last week gave an inkling of what was to come, while earlier releases in Singapore and Japan meant fans could hear the collection before it officially hit the US market.
However, a free track “Flatline” is offered as a separate download from iTunes, making 16 songs.
Music Mondays told a progressive, personal story.
From the pretty pain of “Heartbreaker, longing in “All That Matters,””Hold Tight’s” erotica, apology in “Recovery,” rejection in “Bad Day,” velvet vitriol on “All Bad,” a balls out “PYD” with R.Kelly, searingly honest “Change Me,” and salty dub of “Confident” with Chance The Rapper — the 19-year-old’s sonic mystery tour now takes on bigger, less intimate R&B (with the exceptional exception of “One Life”).
Joining Justin on the Diplo-produced, muscular soul-pop, future hit of “Memphis,” is Big Sean.
“I’d like to give you what you need / I try but you’re makin’ it hard for me / How do I make you believe? / Cause I love you, need you, I need you here to stay,” the 19-year old asks assuredly on the hook, while Sean later channels Drake’s stream of consciousness before ripping up his interlude.
Veteran rapper Lil’ Wayne touches down on the loving-the-alien “Backpack.”
It’s E.T. but not as we know it as the Biebs odes his third kind buddy, pleading,
“Stay in my backpack forever / Stay in my backpack forever.”
And since Lil Wayne sort of does sound like an alien, the pair-up works perfectly.
Progressive hitmaker Future flexes beats and lyrics on the stomping “What’s Hatnin,” while Bieber throws down yet another confident vocal, looping,
“What’s hatnin,’ what’s hatnin / baby girl what’s hatnin, don’t talk about it, just be about it / whatever’s hatnin’ just happens (sic),” in the chorus.
The Canadian gets his crooning hat on in his own self-declared favorite “Swap It Out” for a finger-clicking R&B swooner, in which he asks a love interest to,
“Open up to me/ S’all you gotta do / Give me all your heart / Swap mine out with you / Swap It out with you, Swap It out with you / Come into my world / Give my world to you / Swap swap swap it out.”
And so to the sublime, Drake-penned “One Life.” A virtually airborne Bieber rhapsodizes over a girl and sings that he “only wanna live it [one life] with you,” amid beatific vocals.
It’s a beautiful, textured song within a textured, interesting, collection that already serves as a kind of timepiece for a very public, growing pains period of the singer’s life.
“The last year has not been the easiest for me,” Bieber admitted to USA TODAY in an email from the Typhoon Haiyan-hit Philippines, the surprise, final stop on his Believe tour odyssey, “As I think is probably the case for all teenagers.
“I’m just trying to grow up and figure out who I am, but I have to do it in front of the world.”
He adds, “Like anyone in the public eye, the things I do are scrutinized and sensationalized, which makes things more difficult. But it’s a side effect of my career and getting to do what I love every day, so I’m handling it the best that I can. My family, my team and my pastors have really helped me get through things.”
The teen singer noted, “Sometimes I rebel to try to show my independence, and that can be hard on everyone. But thankfully, the people around me love me and are understanding. When I make a mistake, we talk about it and try to learn from it.”
And, for those not obsessed with antics Keith Moon and a whole generation of rockers would view as child’s play as opposed to an international crisis, Justin says his focus for 2014 — [in which he is taking a long break but not retiring] — is the music.
“I’m going to take my time to really find my sound as an adult,” he wrote the outlet. “That takes time and patience, and I’m grateful I have the ability to step back and focus on my creativity.”
After that individual tracks can be purchased. Options for those who have all or part of the Music Mondays set to “complete my journals” and duck the full $13.99 price are available.
At press time, all eyes are zeroed to see if Bieber can unseat Beyonce and take the No. 1 position on the iTunes’ album chart in the US. Journals is currently No. 2 on iTunes US. The album is No.1 in 22 countries and has made the Top 10 in 26 territories, and it’s climbing.
For album tracklisting and full lyrics, visit here.