Justin Bieber is leaving the sweet, puppy-love days of his My World albums behind for the glitzier and more mature Believe, which depicts him in the club, falling in love with girls and the hard beats.
When he dropped the album's first single, "Boyfriend," back in March, it was clear he was making a statement, declaring, "I am man, hear me roar!"
That transition is explored even further on the rest of Believe. In addition to the more mature sound, the tracks are really strong and sequenced well — they play into one another. Bieber and Usher, the album's executive producer, have managed to craft an album that almost never misses a beat. And on an album with a lot of beats, that's saying something.
Fans are treated to the singles "All Around the World," which features his "Baby" pal Ludacris, and "Boyfriend" first. They are strong setups for what's to come as the album mostly bounces between swaggerfied pop 'n' b and epic dance music. There's a ballad or two thrown in for good measure, just to keep Beliebers swooning.
Having enlisted the likes of Max Martin, Rodney Jerkins, Babyface, Diplo and the Messengers to help shape the funky sound of the album, a quick glance through the album's credits proves that Bieber was incredibly hands-on as well. His name appears on nearly every song's credits. Wondering how that all shakes out? Well, before the album drops on June 19, MTV News has rounded up five standout tracks from the release.
"As Long as You Love Me"
The song grooves thanks to vocal effects that mesh well with the staccato beat. The track is filled with synths and a pulsing undercurrent that highlights Big Sean's verse, where he spits lines like "I don't know if this makes sense/ But you're my hallelujah." That gospel is mirrored on Bieber's chorus, where he sings, "As long as you love me/ We could be starving/ We could be broke." He's expected to tease the track next week, making it a perfect candidate to be the song of the summer.
"Beauty and the Beat"
Speaking of summer songs, this track features the one and only Nicki Minaj and a Martin-produced beat. It is a certifiable grinding and fist-pumping club banger. And Bieber isn't shy about his intentions on it, singing, "Body rock/ I can feel your body rock." Minaj is sassy, as always, flirting back, but noting, "Gotta keep my eye out for Selena."
Drake and Bieber enter each other's musical spaces for this sexy mid-tempo track. Drake doesn't rap on it, opting instead to use his R&B flair and singing. The two guys, who certainly have shown their soft sides in the past, put them on full display when they let their special ladies know "I'm right here" on the chorus, later sharing emotions like "[I] promise to be all that you need."
"Thought of You"
Diplo softened his love for crunchy beats for this track. It swirls and crescendos around Bieber as he repeats "I'm in love with the thought of you" on the chorus. As the song continues, it breaks down as he sings, "Gonna take some time/ But I'll figure it out." Diplo is clearly felt on the track courtesy of its hand claps layered with the song's beat and Bieber vocals, where he wonders, "Why should we fight these feelings?"
Sure, much of the album is beat-heavy, but Bieber does slow it down. There's the inspirational "Believe," but it's the ballad "Catching Feelings" that shows the singer's softer side thanks to an assist from ballad king Babyface. Bieber ponders feelings like "I want to know if she feels the same" over guitar music. The song definitely has a '90s R&B vibe to it and gives fans a second to breathe between dance tracks. And it will have girls swooning when he sings, "In my head/ We're already together ... With you I'm better." Go on girls, faint.
Which tracks are you most looking forward to hearing? Tell us in the comments.