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Kristin Smith

Album Review

Justin Bieber’s first album in five years, Changes, has landed. It debuted at No. 1, pushing Bieber past Elvis Presley as the youngest artist ever to to top the charts seven times. (Justin’s just 25, and it took The King 26 years to accomplish the same feat.) 

Composed of 17 songs, this R&B-infused work focuses on a new side of the world-renowned star. As the title suggests, Justin has indeed changed. He’s now happily married to model Hailey Bieber, working on his YouTube series and talking about how his relationship with God has made him a better man.

The direction of this work certainly veers away from the casual sexual flings and drama of past relationships. Now, fans get to see a committed, loving, intentional side of Bieber—even if that often includes intimate details of what goes on between himself and his wife behind closed doors.

Pro-Social Content

Justin compliments wife Hailey, letting the world know that she has made him a better man in “All Around Me,” (“Guess anything’s possible with your help”). In “Get Me,” we see how Hailey has pushed Justin to go deeper relationally: “See, you’re lookin’ beyond the surface/Can tell by the questions you’re asking.”

Justin lets his wife know his intention is to love and adore her for the rest of their lives on songs such as “Habitual” (“My love for you’s habitual/Not for a moment, but forever”), “Intentions,” “Forever” (“Every time I go the wrong way, you turn me back around”) and “Confirmation.” Similarly, “Second Emotion” finds Justin asking his wife if she, too, is fully committed for the long haul.

In “Changes,” Justin promises Hailey that although he has his ups and downs, he will work to be his best self for their marriage and life together (“And I just wanna be the best of me/Even though sometimes we might disagree/So that I can be the best for you”). Justin believes this is only possible with the help of God, who “always remains the same.” And on “That’s What Love Is,” Justin says that both Hailey and God teach him how to love well on a daily basis: “I reach out to you, but my hands can’t hold enough/Enough of your greatness/You teach me patience/ … Never understood what it meant/It means to submit to love.”

Objectionable Content

For all of that, however, Justin doesn’t hesitate to talk about what happens behind closed doors between himself and his new bride.

Compared to many other rap and R&B artists, Justin’s quite a bit more restrained. Still, suggestive hints and winks turn up in songs such as “Come Around Me” (“Who taught you to drive stick?/You a fool with it, love the way you fool with it”), “Yummy,” “Available” (“Because in reality, you live in my bed”), “Habitual” (“Never get enough, I’m only for your consumption”), “Take It Out on Me” and “E.T.A.,”

Guest rapper Lil Dicky makes some graphic references to sexual intimacy and a woman’s body on “Running Over.” Travis Scott makes an appearance on “Second Emotion” and uses the profanity “b–ch” once.

“At Least For Now” mentions sipping on a drink and smoking a cigarette.

Summary Advisory

For those who have grown up with Justin Bieber, this latest album will feel pretty different from his older stuff. And for those who haven’t? Well, it will certainly give a different taste than what the media has portrayed of Justin over the last few years.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, Justin said that Hailey not only inspired Changes, but that “she supports me through so much, and I’m so honored to be her husband.”

But it’s not just Hailey who has helped to change and refresh the singer’s perspective. Justin also attributes positive changes in his life to God. He says that he used to view grace as something that was earned, but now he knows, “God has already loved me for who I am, before I did anything to earn and deserve it. It’s a free gift by accepting Jesus, and just giving your life to Him.”

Despite those strong positives, though, some problem areas do pop up here that we have to deal with. There are two profanities from featured artists, as well as a reference to drinking. And Justin is still evidently in the “honeymoon” phase as he often sings about his sex life with his wife in ways that enable listeners to picture the steamy scenes he’s singing about.

We applaud Justin Bieber’s faithfulness to and joy in his new bride, as well as his growing faith in God. That said, we hope the next round of changes finds him maturing in discretion, realizing the beauty and goodness of marital intimacy is designed by God to be shared by a husband and wife alone, not with millions of listening fans.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).