I’ll say this for Justin Bieber, his Music Mondays singles are growing more and more interesting. Yeah, I know, it’s really difficult to compliment Bieber given his attitude and immature behavior, but I do at least like the concept behind some of his latest music. I haven’t joined the bandwagon, I promise that, but I’ll give kudos where and when their deserved. Don’t get too comfortable JB. My pen and opinions are still hella fiery.
If nothing else, Veteran’s Day single “All Bad” has excellent production working in its favor. Moody contemporary/alt-R&B cues are in play, as is a hard, anchoring beat. The song itself definitely isn’t the most exciting number I’ve ever heard, but I do think Bieber has the right idea by opting for a more R&B-oriented sound. I think part of the reason I’m not sold 100% is because these songs are so indulgent. Sure, I know Bieber is sharing his more personal side (journals, etc.), but even so, one can’t help having reservations. Even as Bieber sings “I ain’t that bad, all bad all bad / I might make you mad / so mad, my bad / no I ain’t all bad”, you have to wonder if he has truly taken ownership for his actions. Even as he defends himself on lines like “Perfect – ain’t saying that I am / proven, at least I’ve proven that I give a damn…”, you wonder if JB really gets it.
Time to once more balance criticism with praise, sorta. Here goes a positive comment, if somewhat backhanded, LOL. Vocally, Bieber makes a sound choice by avoiding his falsetto, which is still an area he needs to develop in vocally. I’m not being completely smart, but there is both objectivity and subjectivity to the previous statement. Keying in on the objective, Bieber’s falsetto lacks the sweetness and flawless execution of more experienced artists like say Justin Timberlake.
So, where does “All Bad” fall ultimately? Well, it’s not “all bad”, LOL. To recap:
PROS: production and overall sound; R&B sensibilities; personal side that contrasts Bieber’s less emotional pop records
CONS: overindulgence by Bieber; the slow tempo and overall vibe sometimes lend themselves to unexcitability; songwriting is merely good, not exceptional
Justin Bieber | “All Bad” – Single | Island | US Release Date: November 11, 2013