Beliebers, the day has finally arrived — Justin Bieber‘s third release (we’re including 2009 EP My World here) Believe it out! It’s hard to, er, believe that this onetime pint-sized Canadian, who grew to fame via to YouTube, is now an 18-year-old, award-winning megastar. But at this age, he’s aiming to transition from teen idol to full-fledged adult crooner on his new album. Does he succeed? See what the critics had to say about Biebs’ new material by catching our Review Revue roundup below. Then let us know your own thoughts on Justin’s latest set of tunes!
:: CNN is on board with Team Believe: “In the two years between his breakout 2010 LP, My World 2.0, and Believe, his second proper full-length, Bieber has had to go through cultural puberty and actual puberty — a tough gauntlet by any measure. Luckily, his instincts (or at least the instincts of the small republic of people employed to steer the USS Bieber) are strong, and Believe works surprisingly well as a reinvention and a reintroduction. It’s the rare album that tries to be everything to everyone and largely succeeds.”
:: USA Today is not so sure: “Panting come-ons like “All Around the World” and “Right Here” ring false, no matter how much the producers surround him with all-star rappers and baste his voice in electronic effects. (On the one celeb pairing that works —Nicki Minaj, on “Beauty and a Beat” — the 28-year-old steals the song with the cougar-ish line ‘Buns out, wiener/But I gotta keep a eye out for Selener.’) He seems more comfortable as a writer and singer of gentler love songs like “Catching Feelings”, “Fall” and “Be Alright”. Still, there’s an overall blandness that prevents this project from being truly believable.”
:: The New York Daily News finds nothing to be threatened by on the 18-year-old’s latest: “Not once does Believe waver from Bieber’s chaste and dreamy character. He’s still the smitten pursuer, promising undying love to anyone who’ll be his girl. It’s enough to make the Backstreet Boys seem like date rapists. While the music does integrate many more disruptive, post-dubstep stabs of synthesizer, they’re of a sort already chewed-on and digested by today’s dance-driven, Top 40 mainstream.”
:: Rolling Stone jokes, “It’s cosmopolitan pop sophistication, designed to make this the Bieber album 18-and-over folks can like without feeling like they’re joining NAMBLA,” but adds, “Bieber doesn’t have the soulful vocal snaps of a Justin Timberlake or the shock-and-awe charisma of a Britney Spears. His gently sparkling persona can get overwhelmed by all the sonic gear-switching, technological tomfoolery and sweaty come-ons; it can all feel a bit rushed.”
:: TIME simply gives in without a fight: “[Bieber is] undoubtedly one of the most critic-proof artists to ever exist. Which is why his new album Believe, which drops today, will sell millions and millions of copies no matter what some grown-up says about it. So why fight Bieber fever? In lieu of borrowing a 12-year-old girl—a request that is impossible to make without sounding creepy—I let down my hair, put on some One Less Lonely Glitter nail polish, and got in touch with my inner tween. And then a funny thing happened: I kind of fell in love. Which is pretty much the point of the whole album.”
:: The Windsor Star zeroes in on Justin’s collaborators: “Bieber invites close personal friends Ludacris, Big Sean, Drake and the increasingly annoying Nicki Minaj to fuse their super powers to his own. Some of these work better than others. But the whole works convincingly.”
:: Finally, the National Post cleverly gets a group of 8-year-olds to review the album. Says one: ““Sometimes I don’t know what the words mean, but I really like all of the songs. I think he wants someone to love him, I guess?”
What do your own thoughts on JB’s new album Believe? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter! And don’t forget to learn more about the making of Believe on our special Justin Bieber Believe page.