Justin Bieber just released his sixth studo album, called Justice. But it has nothing to do with social justice, and everything to do with love and sensuality.
Justin wants the entire world to know that he dearly loves, values and treasures his wife, Hailey. He makes it clear that he would do anything for her in songs like “2 Much,” “Die For You,” “Ghost,” “Somebody,” “Unstable,” “Anyone” and “Holy.”
He also says that Hailey is a blessing and a gift from God: “Love the way you love your mom/Take on all. Your friends’ problems/ … Prayed for you, look what God has done.”
Justin openly admits that he often doesn’t understand how his wife can love him so well and pray for him so fervently (“You were there for me when I was actin’ selfish/And you prayed for me when I was out of faith/You believed in me when no one else did”) even after he’s hurt her and let his insecurities get the best of him (“I know it hurts when I push your love away”). Yet he vows to continue to grow as a husband (“Take me as I am/Swear I’ll do the best I can”).
Justin reaches out to those who feel worthless and hopeless in “Hold On.” He tells listeners: “Tell me everything that you need to say/’Cause I know how it feels to be someone/Who loses their way.”
A spoken interlude by Martin Luther King Jr. is included, in which he talks about being willing to die for something you believe.
Justin also talks a whole lot about love. Most of it is very sweet, and not as sensual as his last album, Changes. And yet, sensuality is still present …
…. and we hear that sensuality in songs such as “Off My Face” (“But we speak in tongues/If you let me I might say too much”), “Deserve You” (which references “the way your body fits on mine”) “Love You Different” and “Peaches.”
Justin uses several f-words in “Lonely,” and the s-word is heard elsewhere. Other profanities include “d–n,” “a–” and “b–ch.”
We hear references to purchasing and using marijuana in “Peaches” and “Holy.”
If you’re expecting an album that focuses on inequality and social justice, this ain’t it. And while that’s fine, the title is certainly misleading. Justin takes a few quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. but really uses them to assert that he would do anything for his wife, including dying for her—an appropriation of King’s words that has sparked criticism from some listeners.
But that kind of devotion is where the heart of this album lies. What I heard more than anything while listening, is that Justin adores his wife and is willing to work through any difficulty and any roadblock to preserve his marriage. That’s beautiful. It’s not something that is usually discussed in mainstream culture. And Justice also seeks to extend grace and hope to those who feel as if they need a second chance.
These are all positives. But there are still some issues that parents need to know about. Given the album’s positive vibe, f- and s-words feel really jarring here, not to mention some milder profanities. Toss in sensual references and nods to marijuana, and the result is an album that still has a surprising number of problems for young fans.
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).