Justin Bieber’s fifth studio album, “Changes,” embraces his new life as a married man while remaining true to his typical pop sound. It serves as an autobiographical account of the last few years of Bieber’s life, since his 2015 release, “Purpose.”
“All Around Me” is an introductory track that sets a tone for the remainder of the album. It features symbolism of Bieber making room in his life for his new wife, Hailey Bieber. With lyrics such as, “from my home to the road I’ll make sure you’re comfortable. You’ll make sure I’m comfortable. Our love is unconditional,” Bieber expresses his joy that he has someone to come home to after nearly a decade spent on the road. One of my favorite lines from the album comes from this song. He says, “never thought I could be loyal to anyone but myself,” showing the personality changes he has undergone.
“Habitual” is a track filled with nature-themed references. The second verse is one of my favorite moments. “Just to think that we’ve been out here this whole time, working through the seasons. Never crossed paths until we had a reason,” he sings. While the ideas embodied in this verse are not Bieber’s originally, they are well-delivered in this track.
I was unimpressed with many of the moments on the album that appear to be crafted with the intent of being fan favorites. The song, “Intentions” featuring Quavo is perhaps the most generic and predictable track. Auto tuned lyrics about not needing an Instagram filter are backed by Quavo’s ad libs.
“Come Around Me” is tolerable at best with its painfully cringe-worthy and immature sexual references. The leading single “Yummy” remains insufferable.
However, the middle section of the record greatly improves its quality. “Forever” is catchy, but the Post Malone feature serves no purpose other than having a Post Malone feature on the album to draw streams and sales. I personally enjoyed the lesser known Clever’s verse far more than Bieber or Post’s parts in the song.
“Running Over,” featuring Lil Dicky, is by far my favorite track on the album, but my liking for it is almost entirely credited to the feature.
Tracks such as “Available” and “Take it Out on Me” are extremely forgettable, as is “Get Me” featuring Kehlani. I find it disappointing that the one female feature on the album is in a filler track.
The instrumental-based “ETA” tackles the challenge of being in a long-distance relationship and discusses the anticipation between two lovers to see each other after time apart.
The title track, “Changes,” discusses how Bieber wants to become a better man for his new wife. He fears the changes occurring in his life will affect important aspects, such as his relationship. He closes with the line, “People change. Circumstances change. God always remains the same.” Bieber cites his religious faith as the true change in his life since his last album was released. I was surprised this was not referenced more on the album.
The last quarter reverts back to filler tracks, but it closes on a good note with “At Least for Now,” another personal favorite. This track shows Bieber concluding by naming the factors in his life that will eventually change while his relationship remains the same.
Over all, there was not a single moment on “Changes” that I found notably unique or creative. Its content is predictable and often redundant. It is hard to find a distinction between many of its tracks, but it also is not a bad album. It is very average and unsurprising. Every song is an ode to Hailey, so I see why long-time, devoted fans would enjoy the record.
Unfortunately, this is not album of the year material nor an album I would even consider returning to.