Justin Bieber’s ‘Heartbreaker’ Rockets To #1 On iTunes In 56 Countries

Update: “Heartbreaker” is now #1 in 63 countries (and counting) at time of press.

Justin Bieber’s new song “Heartbreaker” may not seem like the most obvious of first singles, but it’s delivered #1 spots on iTunes in 56 countries, as the delighted singer tweeted earlier (Oct. 7).

Kicking off the 10-week “MusicMondays” series in surprisingly, frank form, the confessional slow jam is oddly compelling yet is hardly overproduced. What’s there is Bieber’s matured, velveteen voice, a layer cake of sublime harmonies, an almost childlike guitar riff, and a lean, mean snare.

But what powers the song is the honesty of the lyric. Somehow different to the oft-generic wailing of traditional R&B, “Heartbreaker” feels genuine. Raw. The 19-year-old basically lays his heart on the line as he sings about an ex-girlfriend he misses and still wants.

Delicate verses and bridges lead to the soulful chorus: “Don’t tell me you’re my heartbreaker / Cos girl my heart’s breaking / Don’t tell me you’re my heartbreaker / Cos girl my heart’s breaking.”

Back in May, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons tweeted his take on early previews of Bieber’s music. He compared it to a young Jodeci, even Prince. Listening to “Heartbreaker,” now we get it.

The most left-field part of the song comes in two stages. In the spoken interlude, Justin says:

“So what I’m really tryin’ to say is, and what I hope you understand / Is despite all the imperfections of who I am I still wanna be your man / I know it hasn’t been easy for us to talk with everyone being around but / this is personal for me, this is for me and you and I want you to know that I still love you (sic).”

The retro flavor ends in the thunderous middle 8, with Bieber’s urgent pleas to an ex thrown into a mix of nicely unsettling, electro-fusion pads.

“Heartbreaker” is a grower, not a headbanger. It’s not the kind of song you’d put on before getting your party on. It’s a one-on-one track that’s all about lost intimacy and longing. It’s also a daring first move for a high-profile, embattled artist who possibly weighed coming out of the gate with a predictable uptempo.

The song works because it connects emotionally, although the Canadian’s declaration on Twitter after its midnight release on iTunes clearly ramped up the drama.

Obviously, most have assumed Bieber is talking about his former girlfriend Selena Gomez.

The pair have been in an on and off cycle since last November but are reportedly no longer in a romantic relationship.

“Music Mondays” midnight roll-out of one song a week from Bieber’s Journals ends one day after his Believe tour wraps on December 8, leading neatly into the Christmas debut of the Jon M. Chu-helmed Believe movie-documentary.

So, essentially we’re all now locked into nine more weeks of Justin’s musical autobiography. What makes that more interesting than most teen’s diaries is a sense he seems unafraid to let the chips fall where they may.

“Each week the songs get better,” the superstar tweeted from Japan. “Maybe u might get lucky with two songs in a week.”

Best part is that u let me be honest. #heartbreaker

— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) October 7, 2013

@justinbieber #heartbreaker is #1 in 52 countries and counting. #MusicMondays

— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) October 7, 2013