Are you crying? Because we’re crying a little.
What do we mean? We mean it’s been a three year long drought since Justin Bieber‘s last official studio album, Believe, a formidable offering of pop gems and a continuation of his ever-maturing career.
Since then, he’s gotten into a little bit of… controversy. You know what we mean, like monkey troubles, street racing, peeing on things, we don’t need to get into that now. All that you need to know is that those troubles are behind the boy, and we’ve been thirsting for more music ever since.
Sure we’ve had Journals, a collection of murky, Drake-esque singles, not to mention collaborations all around, including a particular excellent smash with Skrillex and Diplo‘s Jack Ü, “Where Are Ü Now.” It was clear from that single on that Bieber is very much bucked up and coming for the crown this time around. Know what we mean?
And now the boy is officially back with his lead single, “What Do You Mean?” from his fourth official studio album, slated to be released this November. And what that means is that we’re ready to be slayed once more by this generation’s pop prince.
That’s what we mean.
“What Do You Mean?” begins with a clock tick percussion and some gentle piano chords coming together to sound effectively bittersweet, we’re already obsessed. Soon enough, tropical-like synths come bubbling in, echoing his most recent smash. Albeit, this single is even less of a floor filler, staying low-key and melancholy the entire way through. The song is structureless, as if Bieber’s crooning free-form poetry co-written with Poo Bear over the fluid instrumentation.
Justin’s breathy vocals stay in control and restrained the entire time, recalling the bleary-eyed songs from Journals, and it’s MdL and Bieber’s own futuristic EDM/house production that gives it just enough of a burst of energy to lift it up while still retaining it’s raw poignancy. There are shades of Kygo‘s tropical synths, Fliex Jaehn‘s colorful melodies, Robin Schulz‘s deep house, essentially just great forward-thinking producers. The track isn’t the most dynamic, but it’s enough to be worked well into a remix-ready club track and chill enough to accompany a long nighttime drive, perfect for this coming fall. Everything sounds cleanly produced, trend-negating, and sorry Deadmau5, but expensive.
“What Do You Mean?” is an incredibly worthy addition to J.Bieb’s legacy that grows with each listen. Cuts like the slinky “Boyfriend” or the dub-laden “As Long As You Love Me” were strong hits, but none have been quite as innovative as this era suggests. Haters have been converting to Belieberism with each play of “Where Are Ü Now,” this could be the single that proves that Justin is here to stay.
Enjoy the lyric video above, and tell us what you think in the comments below!