In February 2020, Justin Bieber released his fifth album, Changes. Now, a little more than six months later, Bieber is back with his latest release, “Holy.”
A pop and hip-hop driven song laced with gospel tunes, “Holy” is Justin’s tribute to his new bride Hailey Bieber. (And he’s joined by guest artist Chance the Rapper here too.) Bieber says that time with his wife, be it between the sheets or just huddled close, is like a religious experience.
Bieber immediately lets listeners know that he’ll never be perfect (“I hear a lot about sinners/Don’t think that I’ll be a saint”). But he also seems to suggest that the goodness of marriage is something transformative that deeply affects both people in it: “But I might go down to the river/’Cause the way that the sky opens up when we touch.”
According to Bieber, his physical connection to his wife (“I don’t believe in Nirvana/But the way that we love in the night gave me life”), as well as their emotional connection “feels so holy.” So much so that marrying her quickly was at the top of his list of priorities (“Runnin’ to the altar like a track star/Can’t wait another second”).
Chance the Rapper chimes in to agree with Bieber. While “wise men say fools rush in,” and others tell him and Bieber they’re “too young” to get married, both men know they’ve made the better choice.
This is followed by Chance praising his wife’s physical appearance (“I know He made you a snack like Oscar Proud”), as well as committing to his role as a husband and father before God (“I wanna honor you/ … I know I ain’t leavin you’ like I know He ain’t leavin’ us/I know we believe in God, and I know God believe in us”).
And, in that mix, Chance randomly mentions that he’d like to take his wife on fun trips and even go to spots “that got the best weed.”
In contrast to the lyrics, Justin’s video for this song is played out like a story about him and a fictional wife’s life together. In the beginning of the video, he’s in bed, shirtless, with his wife, who’s wearing a tank top (which we see again later). The video focuses on the two in their daily jobs (she works in a nursing home, he works on an oil field) and how they, as well as other families, rely on one another through ups and downs. It’s both kind of random and sweet at the same time.
But when you focus carefully the lyrics of this well-intentioned track, you get a mixed bag. Yes, Bieber and Chance talk about the connections they have with their wives. Yes, marriage is talked about as a holy covenant that’s well worth it, even when others disagree. But Bieber also uses plenty of biblical language to describe intimate moments with his wife. And Chance randomly talks about smoking weed.
Two wholly different things, indeed.
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).