It’s been 10,000 hours since Justin Bieber’s last album

Caroline Hendrix, Staff Writer

Justin Bieber is one of the most popular artists of our generation. He came from humble beginnings, singing on Canadian sidewalks and uploading musical covers to YouTube. Bieber was just a normal kid with an undeniable passion for music. The world could not dismiss his talent, leading to his quick rise to stardom at the age of 13 after current manager Scooter Braun discovered his covers online. To give you an idea about just how famous he is, consider this: A CNN article was recently published sharing evidently life-changing news – Bieber has finally decided to shave his mustache, which he named Ricardo. Did CNN write an article about the last time you shaved? I didn’t think so. Time passed and his fame only grew, but was that necessarily a good thing? Yes, we were graced with his angelic voice in staples like “Baby,” “One Less Lonely Girl” and “Love Yourself,” nothing-short-of-perfect dance moves and his signature hairstyle, but he was not as lucky as us. Fame affected his relationships and his health more than anyone from the outside looking in could have guessed.

I cannot imagine how hard it is to be under a microscope from fans and the media. It is hard to put yourself in his shoes when you are not in a constant state of scrutiny from millions of people, all for doing things as small as shaving your mustache or supposedly eating a burrito sideways — the latter incident, by the way, ended up being a Justin Bieber look-alike. I am not denying the fact that the singer has an exuberant amount of money that gives him security: a roof over his head, clothes and shoes on his body and food in his mouth. But there comes a point when you have all your basic needs met, and an infinite amount of money cannot distract you from other forms of suffering. Bieber is a prime example of that. He stopped his 2016 “Purpose” tour early and has not come out with another album since 2015 until his recent release “Changes” on Feb. 14. He took a much-needed break to focus on his health, but the public did not forget about him.

Why does it feel like he never left? Well, because he didn’t — taking a step back from touring and releasing albums did not stop him from cooperating with other artists on singles and EPs. During his “hiatus,” Bieber put out songs with music moguls like Dan + Shay, Ed Sheeran and DJ Snake. And apart from music, from 2016 to now, the media definitely did not forget about him. He kept fans intrigued with his random Instagram posts and relationship and later marriage with model Hailey Baldwin, now Hailey Bieber.

People warn against fixing things that are not broken, but this does not apply to Bieber. We know him as a pop sensation, but his 2020 album seems like his transition album into R&B. I argue that his new “Changes” album is his best yet with hits like “Confirmation” and my personal favorite, “Intentions” featuring rapper Quavo. It does not seem like he is trying to fit an image or create content to please his fans. It seems like he is putting out songs that more reflect who he is than ever before. You can see this reflection on Bieber’s face during his performance of “Intentions” on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show. His genuine smile sent warmth and positivity through the television screen — a feeling I could get used to.

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