Hot Take Express: Justin Bieber Might Never Make A Bad Song Again
Sometimes you just need to fire off a quick #HotTake about how something is either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. Welcome to Hot Take Express. The train is leaving the station. Don’t forget your oven mitts when handling this hot take.
Pack it in, folks. Justin Bieber is an immortal, unstoppable force. One of my favorite artists to write about is actually in danger of reaching a plateau above all criticism.
In 2012, he released Believe, a bland, white bread title for a bland, white bread pop album. The single that drove the album was “Boyfriend,” which probably qualifies as Bieber’s first “look what I can do” moment. It was his warning shot, and things were about to get serious. In 2013, he premiered Journals, a turn into R&B, and a more mature direction. None of those songs were bad. In fact, “All That Matters” was a new pinnacle for Bieber, and remains one of my favorite tracks of his. (2013 also featured Believe Acoustic, a much better take on his Believe album, which was largely well written but produced for 12-year-old girls who love pop music.) Purpose came out last fall, and, while a song or two felt like a misfire, none of it were outright bad. Last week, he came back with Major Lazer-assisted “Cold Water,” an anthemic hit-in-waiting.
Are you tracking with me here?
Justin Bieber has not released a bad song in over four years. For a 22-year-old pop artist in 2016, that is an eternity. That’s like three careers long. Justin Bieber is 2004 Barry Bonds, except there are no steroids here.
“Cold Water” is another product of the miraculous convergence of Bieber’s stardom with pop music’s new infatuation with house and dancehall music. You couldn’t have timed it better. Bieber came of age at the same time this style of production did, and he sounds perfect on it. The pop music movement has been largely propagated by Diplo, who Bieber has great chemistry with, as proven by “Where Are Ü Now” and “Cold Water.” It’s all perfect. The last year or so of Beiber’s career seems preordained. It’s a magnificent collision, and we’re all better for it. May it never end.
When Bieber is operating at a high level like this, it can only help the music industry. We need more massive pop artists with a knack for creating something more than the next television commercial and movie trailer song. Bieber is doing it.