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Music Reviews

MPAA Rating
Pop, R&B
Topped iTunes' singles chart.
Record Label
Schoolboy Records, Island
October 14, 2013
Adam R. Holz
Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

"All That Matters"

Justin Bieber's "All That Matters," the second of his so-called Music Mondays releases through the fall of 2013, finds him waxing romantic about a special someone. But mingled amid those sweet nothings are lines that more than hint at him already living with or at least regularly sleeping with this beloved object of his affection.

Crooning achingly against a backdrop of sultry, bluesy chord progression, Justin swings for the romantic fences in an earnest attempt to convince his current cuddle of how much she means to him. "Oh, oh, just as sure as the stars in the sky/I need you to shine in the light/Not just for the meantime, for a long time," he begins. A couple of lines later he uses spiritual language to describe the relationship's benefits: "Whenever you're not in my presence/It feels like I'm missing my blessings." Then, cribbing a bit from Jerry McGuire, the chorus adds, "You're all that matters to me/ … If it ain't you, I'm not myself/You make me complete."

Unfortunately (but predictably), Justin's spiritually romanticized musings ultimately take a carnal turn, and it's not long before all that gooey "you complete me" talk gets reframed in sexual terms. Our first hint of that shift comes as Justin pines away for his apparently absent lady: "Only been missing my lover," he says of her, "Got a whole lot of texts in my phone and I don't reply." (The reason for Justin's ill-treatment of his supposed soul mate is never spelled out). Soon she's home, however, and Justin asks rhetorically, "What's a king bed without a queen?" The last verse gets increasingly specific: "When I wake up in the morning under you, and only you/Oh, oh, I'm grateful for your existence."

Of course Justin insists she's the only girl for him, promising, "Faithful no matter the distance/You're the only girl I see/From the bottom of my heart, please believe." But for all his sweet talk, there's never any mention here of a marriage commitment to legitimize or fortify the physical intimacy that Master Bieber is so clearly enjoying.

Perhaps that's why his girl is having a hard time believing all those promises?

The accompanying video features low-fi, touristy images filmed at the Great Wall of China where a sunglasses-wearing Bieber strikes all manner of understated but decidedly Michael Jackson-esque poses and dance moves. At one point he briefly tries to shimmy up to (as if to dance with) a young female passerby. She responds by pulling back and looking uncomfortable and a bit embarrassed.

Bieber is oblivious, as if he simply can't believe anyone wouldn't be enamored by his attentive presence.