On the 16-track album, out Friday, Bieber has found his voice as an adult, husband and man of faith. After half a lifetime in the spotlight, he’s comfortable in his skin and it shows in a fully realized pop album.
With “Justice,” Bieber joins contemporaries including Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, who’ve managed to reinvent their sound in interesting and unexpected ways that appeal to both critics and fans.
Listen to “Justice” by Justin Bieber
Here are our five favorite songs from the 27-year-old pop star’s most exciting release in years:
5. ‘Loved by You’ featuring Burna Boy
“I hate the way I need to be loved by you”: On the surface, this is a song about longing to feel desired, then despising yourself for needing to be needed. But it’s hard not to remember Bieber’s long history of tabloid headlines, struggles with depression and “Purpose” tour cancellation and wonder if he’s really talking about the trappings of fame.
4. ‘Holy’ featuring Chance the Rapper
Bieber “can’t wait another second” to get to the altar in this ode to the epiphanic nature of love. Piano keys and a gospel tinge raise the song up, but it really soars when Chance the Rapper drops cheeky lines like “Life is short with a temper like Joe Pesci” and pious rhymes “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…