Ready for Justin Bieber, the “Heartbreaker?” If so, good times are ahead.
Because that’s the name of his upcoming new single and it’s “… coming soon.” Incidentally, that was the caption for the first of four Instagrams the 19-year-old posted last night to reveal artwork teasers, albeit they were basically all the same.
The artwork features a spartan white background with an Eros motif in the top left corner and a smudged, purple powder heart in the center. Giving nothing away but the title, the look is warmly modern and actually does whet the appetite.
Three further Bieber captions urged fans to: “Tell a friend to tell a friend.” The next could well be a lyric flash. It read: “Don’t tell me your my… #justinbieber #heartbreaker” (We’re not sweating the grammar.)
The last one simply said: “Heartbreaker #Justinbiebernewsingle.”
For an artist with a massively successful commercial track record, Bieber now finds himself in the curious position of make or break in critical terms. Career-wise his next musical steps have never been more important, something he seems more than aware of. Shut out from nominations at the 55th Grammys, since then he has expressed his determination to come back stronger.
In January, Bieber tweeted: “Another year. Another year to be doubted. Another year to work hard and prove them wrong. Another year we are coming out of the gate strong.”
An April Twitter conversation with Brit troubadour Ed Sheeran after he was sent musical previews, revealed this exchange: “@edsheeran hope you liked the new tunes,” Bieber wrote.
Sheeran replied: “@justinbieber very cool direction you’re taking the new stuff.”
In May, a further glimpse of new music surfaced in video footage of a forthcoming track featuring Young Money rapper Tyga. Later that month, the singer debuted the hashtag #music journals, which some thought referred to a weighty and possibly highly indignant tome à la “My Tabloid Hell On The Road.”
“Well I don’t ever disclose what our plans are,” said Braun.”But I will say this, he’s been writing one to two songs a day for the entire tour and he actually labels them by the city he writes them in.”
So, what could Bieber’s new music sound like?
Stylistically, and musically, he appears to be embracing more and more urban rooted territory, hardly surprising since his first YouTube’s were R&B covers and footage from old tours and interviews evidences a consistent taste for hip-hop.
Noting his friendships with Odd Future’s Tyler, The Creator and Chris Brown as well as Young Money artists, Bieber’s new music could well be a significantly harder outing than last year’s Believe. Equally, the mostly positive reception to 2013’s Believe Acoustic and where his (now settling) voice sits, could see a mix of less kinetic material.
Intriguingly, Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam and Global Grind shareholder, commented:
Over at Vibe, in a thought-provoking piece, Keith Murphy mused on Bieber’s struggle to be taken seriously as an artist and Believe’s failure to “garner the Canadian performer his own Justified.”
Murphy footnoted by pointing out that the singer’s own musical hero Michael Jackson was 21 when he unleashed 1978’s Off The Wall. No less a titan, Prince was just 22 when he dropped his eponymous breakthrough second album.
Quoting thatBillboard speech: “It should really be about the music. It should be about the craft that I’m making, and … this is not a gimmick, this is not a gimmick. I’m an artist, and I should be taken seriously. All this other bull should not be spoken of.”
Seeing as the teen singer’s last plea is unlikely to be granted since reporting is what media does, the narrative change he seeks may come from simply going back to the music.
If ever there was a time for Bieber to dig deep and pull together the ideas he’s been fleshing into a genuinely classic but progressive album that phoenixes him out of his comfort zone and negative perceptions, with truly adult art — it’s now.
Best case scenario? It happens.