Friday, 25 January 2013

Justin Bieber - Believe Acoustic

Yes, you read the title correctly. This is a review of Justin Bieber’s next cash-cow-disguised-as-music called Believe Acoustic. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I constantly put myself into a position where I have to review stuff that I won’t like? The hardest part of this job is having to sit through multiple listens of an album before I can have an informed opinion on it. Thankfully Bieber’s music is vapid and simplistic at best, and uninspired at its worst. So with this knowledge in the back of my mind I loaded up the album and, fuck me, this is album is actually pretty decent. Not even kidding. 

Believe Acoustic contains most of the tracks that featured on the in 2011 release Believe, but as the title suggests they’ve all gotten the acoustic treatment because Bieber wanted to return to the style he called his own before he the fame outside of YouTube. You have to respect him for that, even though the album is loaded with tracks that could potentially be disastrous. His hit single "Boyfriend" is there, "As Long As You Love Me" is there and the cringe-worthy titled "Beauty and a Beat" is there. Almost every self-respecting music lover shuns these tracks (and Bieber as a whole) because it has as much substance as an empty bottle of Vitamin Water. It shouldn’t work, but strangely enough it does. 

The music itself is attractive because it’s incredibly minimal. No producer that pulls all the strings and cranks autotune up to T-Pain level and no popified dubstep basslines or RnB tracks. They stripped away every musical element that made the originals sound so uninspired. It’s just one or two guys on a guitar (one of them being Bieber himself) and that setup creates a very intimate and (dare I say it) pure atmosphere. Bieber’s voice is definitely at the forefront and you can actually start to believe that this guy has more talent than most of us (and with us I mean: Everybody above the age of sixteen) originally thought. His songs sound sincere and well thought-out, with flowing build-ups and soft breakdowns. This is actually nice to listen to. Allow me to repeat myself: Fuck me. 

Does that mean the release is actually good for people like you and I? Maybe. It’s definitely a step up from his stupid, empty, superfluous excuse for pop music that we’re used to getting from the Canadian singer-songwriter. The music part is covered. But lyrically… sweet Jesus it’s bad. It’s so incredibly bad. Bieber is using the super original words “oh” and “baby” like it’s going out of style. It wouldn’t bother me as much if he used them at certain key points in a track, but he doesn’t. They’re everywhere and they are incredibly annoying. Come to think of it, almost every line in every song is a definite mood killer because it’s got no substance, nothing to relate to. It just sounds incredibly lazy. Most tracks sound great though. I do get the idea that his label pushed a few not completely acoustic tracks on the album because this is so far away from his usual style. This would probably confuse his fans, so they added in a few overproduced pop tracks to soften the blow. Not all the lyrical content is bad though. The lead single "As Long As You Love Me" is pretty well written. "Yellow Raincoat" is another example of Bieber having some talent in the writing department. It’s actually a song I would listen to in my free time. It’s not bad at all. 

My verdict is this: It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It’s a musically interesting album and it’s nice to hear his voice sing over a track that contains actual music, instead of random sounds that correspond to the Musique due jour. Lyrically it’s absolutely horrible, but what did we really expect from an artist who makes music that’s mainly targeted at girls who have barely hit puberty? Bieber is building some sort of momentum here, let’s hope he doesn’t muck that up (although I’m certain that he will). Give the album a listen though, he’s deserved that.


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