‘Pur­pose’

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Audiosyncracy - (MES­FIN FEKADU/AP Mu­sic Writer)

JUSTIN Bieber’s new al­bum is pep­pered with songs full of apolo­gies and re­demp­tion. The trou­bled star claims he’s changed. And maybe he has. Or not.

But one thing’s for sure — his mu­sic has got­ten bet­ter. So much bet­ter.

“Pur­pose,” Bieber’s first al­bum since 2013’s R&B-in­flu­enced “Jour­nals,” finds the 21-year-old edg­ing out his own zone in the cur­rent pop mu­sic land­scape. The Biebs has al­most found his voice.

He opens the al­bum — with note­wor­thy pro­duc­tion from EDM ex­pert Skrillex — with down­beat songs both per­sonal and real. The R&B num­ber “Mark My Words” feels grown-up and sexy and on “I’ll Show You,” Bieber gets deep.

“It’s like they want me to be per­fect, but they don’t even know I’m hurt­ing,” he sings in an hon­est tone.

His “don’t-count-me-out” at­ti­tude also shines on the sim­ple pi­ano tune, “Life Is Worth Liv­ing,” where he pro­claims, “I’m work­ing on a bet­ter me.” Draw­ing from his real-life ex­pe­ri­ences is what makes Bieber’s al­bum no­table, along with his falsetto, which he has close to mas­tered over the last few years.

“Pur­pose” isn’t al­ways re­flec­tive — it’s also full of ad­dic­tive pop gems. Even if you hate the kid, it’s hard to hate the songs.

The ridicu­lously catchy “Sorry” is eas­ily one of the year’s best pop songs, thanks to its ir­re­sistible, dance-in­duc­ing beat. And the hits “Where Are U Now” and “What Do You Mean” fol­low suit.

“No Sense” has a trap sound that is a high­light; the lay­ered and ex­per­i­men­tal “The Feel­ing,” fea­tur­ing ris­ing new­comer Halsey, has a win­ning hook; and Bieber is cool and calm on the stripped-down “Love Your­self.”

On the lat­ter, the singer throws jabs at an ex: “My momma don’t like you, but she likes ev­ery­one.”

Even that girl will be in love with this al­bum.

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