Now that almost 150 days have passed since Justin Bieber’s release of his latest album, it is high time to revisit the landmark achievement.
“Purpose” immediately drew infamous comparisons on its release. Noted music critic Roger Ebert called it “a beautiful homage to Tchaikovsky.” “Bieber’s use of folksy melodies, such as in ‘Love Yourself,’ pays clear tribute to Russia’s greatest export, and succeeds as no other artist could hope to.” Speaking Thursday, an anonymous White House source said that “Purpose” is “a clear representation of America’s values.” He called it “the new anthem of the United States” and later said, “the President is a big fan. He never stops talking about it.” When tranquilized, thousands of screaming fangirls flooding the streets likened the album to “their literal favorite ever.” “He, like, is my favorite,” one dazed 12-year-old said. Later, she continued, “Ohmigod, he’s so CUTE,” shortly before passing out. She is reported to be in stable condition.
Listening to the music is like taking a trip into Bieber’s mind. The album begins with “Mark My Words.” The sensuous curves of the background autotune humming is balanced by profound piano lines, and predictably overlaid by Bieber’s singing. “I’ll Show You” is half Bieber’s slow, lyrical voice and half funny chipmunk EDM sounds; “What Do You Mean?” brings back the chipmunk for brief cameos, but off-plays it by featuring a catchy clock line as well. “Sorry” and “Company” feature more singing. However, the full bass of these songs is reined in by blueberry top notes and a complex body of anise, nutmeg and herbals. “Love Yourself” is an anomaly — departing from the bittersweet piano of the rest of the album, the song features a bare guitar line and the occasional trumpet, plus syncopated vocal melodies. As a matter of fact, it sounds suspiciously like Ed Sheeran. The EDM chipmunks make a reappearance in “Where Are Ü Now,” accompanied by a lot of synthesizer. Unaffected by the random umlaut over the song title’s “U,” Bieber repeatedly asks “Where are you now that I need you?” Sadly, the question is met with only a sick beat.
However, in this digital age, the accompanying music videos must not be neglected. Those that accompany “Purpose” are visceral and violently well-crafted, and feature some surprisingly cool dancing. However, that choreography is embedded in videos that leave you in a state similar to binge drinking — confused, drooling just a little bit and slightly embarrassed by what you’re doing. “Mark My Words” introduces Bieber and a yellow piano, both standing in a desert of angst. “What Do You Mean?” features a story involving Bieber, a disturbingly attractive model, and a kidnapping-turned-skate-party. “Purpose” transforms Bieber into a Khaleesi-esque figure, as attractive women in various states of undress gyrate desperately against his torso. The yellow piano returns, and lends the video a profound gravitas. (“Why is there a yellow piano?” “I don’t know, Mabel.”) Overall, the music videos are at least as entertaining as the album itself, even if they make a good deal less sense.
In analyzing “Purpose,” it is difficult to overstate the cultural importance of this album. Thousands of teen girls, suddenly given something to live for, have begun to become productive members of society. Bieber’s inspirational lyrics and autotune-laden dance pop have fired spontaneous dancing across the nation. Yellow desert pianos, EDM chipmunks and completely nonsensical music videos have been given new life. Calvin Klein sales have mysteriously spiked, along with skinny jean stocks. Music has become a new entity — shining in the light of a Canadian icon, reborn into a new purposeful reality. What a wonderful time to be alive.
Editors note: this article appeared in the March 31, 2016 edition of the Exponent, the “Excrement”. The edition is the annual April Fool’s edition of the paper. All articles are satire. For questions and comments please contact email@example.com or (406)994-2224