Friday, August 28, 2015

PSA: Justin Bieber's New Single "What Do You Mean?" Is Really, Really Great



As a music writer, the thing I love most about the ever-changing music landscape is that I'm always proved wrong, time and again, about not only the direction of music, but my own taste. I'm pushed way out of what I thought were my boundaries and find myself not only co-existing with, but excitedly consuming genres and artists that I previously (stupidly) could have scoffed at.

Kacey Musgraves, Carly Rae Jepsen, pretty much every delectably hilarious rapper and now this, one of the most heavily marketed pieces of music since Taylor Swift's 1989 (white pop stars seem to be anti-surprise album) - Justin Bieber's first single in two years, "What Do You Mean?". For the past month, Bieber has summoned every big celebrity to participate in the countdown to the single's release - proving that, despite his extracurricular issues these past few years, public opinion of the kid is still very strong. Or, at least the anticipation around what he's doing is.

Over a slow-burning, tropical house arrangement, the Biebs' subdued (but highly capable, post-pubescence [amen]) voice asks about some relationship miscommunication over (and over and over) again - making for what might be one of the last melodic candy bangers of the summer. If you liked "Where Are Ü Now," his pretty collab with Jack Ü (Diplo and Skrillex), you'll eat this single right up.

I just fucking love where we are in music. Nothing matters, none of your predispositions, none of the pressure to like this and that; indie shoegaze can be just as recognized and critically acclaimed as a solid country effort or shamelessly bubblegum pop record, and critics themselves will be the first people to yell that at you. If you've gone through more than half your life believing certain genres or artists are more acceptable to publicly support than others, than get off your high horse and start enjoying the sounds before it's too late and you've missed what's happening.

Because Bieber is obviously back, and he'll be damned if you're not toe-tapping proudly. Watch out for his "What Do You Mean?" performance at the upcoming MTV VMAs, as well as a new album out this fall/winter.






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