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Justin Bieber's 'Purpose': First Thoughts

The pop star doesn't disappoint in his big return.

Stefan Hoederath // Getty Images

Say what you will about Justin Bieber, but the singer, who is well on his way of becoming the next pop icon, is extremely talented.

Granted, we necessarily didn’t see an album coming as little as six months ago, when the bleached-blonde, tattooed bad boy couldn’t even stay out of the headlines if his career depended on it. And in many ways, it did.

But just like that, in a matter of 18-tracks (if you opted for the deluxe editition), the Biebs has us back and ear-spooning out the palm of his charming pop hands.

Coming full circle from his early hair-tossed, sympathizing boy-band lyrics on his debut studio album My World 2.0, the 21-year-old Canadian crooner shifts into what seems to be a more humble, confident and grown-up state of mind.

Now, clocked in for his fourth body of work, Purpose is a translation to Bieber’s high-profile life, the relations he’s made along the way and a reflection to his devotion as one of the biggest contributing names to the state of pop and R&B.

And for every controversial headline Biebs has made along the way, including his fiasco behind bars, he’s accompanied a tell-all sense of lyrical transparency and a reptant vocal stretch that is easily pushing him closer and closer to another chart-topping success. With songs that feel at home with R&B and hip-hop, others resounding on a experimental pop chord, and a few slightly coveted country-rock ballads, it’s a project for everybody, in so many ways.

"Mark My Words" (Track 1): Purpose rolls into a woozy, hypnotic opening track, “Mark My Words,” that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Vowing to give it all he’s got and “show you more than I could ever say,” Biebs pleads over the blarring sexual production in a gliding smooth falsetto. It’s a towering electronic beat, and if enough to transcend you through the rest of the album.

"What Do You Mean?" (Track 3): Quite possibly, the song that had us hooked before even catching wind of a full-length project, the self-professed men’s anthem is basically the anchor party track. It’s the perfect segue between a Biebs house party and a swanky after-hours rooftop soiree.

"Company" (Track 6): Following a brief Ed Sheeran interlude, “Company” is an invitation to a no-strings-attached lituation in which both parties win. “You ain’t gotta be my lover for you to call me baby,” he sings. No argument there.

"Purpose" (Track 13): As the title track, “Purpose” levels the genre-crossing collection, with a piano ballad necessary for Justin’s spoken-word outro. It’s more of self-assuring acknowledgment rather than a boastful gesture, and the ideal fade out until we hear from him next time.

"All In It" (Track 18): The concluding number on the deluxe version, “All In It” finds Justin owning up to all of his mistakes and lessons along the way. As he sings on the last line, "God is perfect and he never disappoints, so I just get my recognition from Him and give Him my recognition." It's an awakening ballad testifies his growth personally, spiritually, and musically.

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