Justin Bieber’s ‘Believe Acoustic’: Review Revue

Carl Williott | January 29, 2013 10:11 am

Justin Bieber‘s Believe Acoustic is a blatant attempt for him to gain some artistic “credibility,” yes. But it also serves as a good reminder that the kid is really talented. Sure, the Beliebers were already well aware of this, but this release served as an effective reminder to the broader listening public. On the way to our 3.5/5 score, we argued in our review that it was a worthy release. While there were some misses (the awkward reworking of “Boyfriend,” for instance), it’s “an intimate musical experience reflecting the qualities that made him a star in the first place.”

While we were impressed with the record, several of the reviews across the web fell in the “tepid” range. Read on for a roundup of reactions to Beiber’s latest.

:: Rolling Stone gave Believe Acoustic a 3/5, noting that “The unplugged versions of blustery dance-pop bangers…sound a tad wan, with a six-string standing in for the synths and bludgeoning rhythms. But Bieber gives the songs his best, and his raspy, soulful vocal tone stands out nicely against the stark musical backdrop.”

:: USA Today handed out a 3/4 along with some high praise, noting that the songs “assume the texture of timeless singer/songwriter pop.” The reviewer added, “For people who’ve forgotten — or who never understood — the appeal of young performers like Bieber, Believe Acoustic is a good place to hear it.”

:: AllMusic submitted a 2.5/5, and found the stripped-down party tracks sounded “silly when performed with the singer in serious artist mode. Unsurprisingly, the material that required less of a transformation — such as ‘As Long as You Love Me’ and ‘Be Alright’ — fares better.”

:: Newsday called the album “seriously stale,” saying it “feels like a shortcut to seriousness that he didn’t need to take.”

:: Bieber’s countrymen at Dose were pretty rough on the album, rating it a 2/5 and handing out the backhanded compliment that it’s “more palatable than the disc that gave birth to it.”

:: Vaunted music rag the Washington Times even got in on the action, saying “only a few of these retooled arrangements shine any new light on the originals.” But there was praise: “‘Nothing Like Us’ points to a new relationship: one with songwriting itself. Maybe ‘Believe Acoustic’ gives us something to believe in, after all.”

:: Hollywood Life was less worried about the musical merits of the album and more convinced that it was all a grand love letter to his ex Selena Gomez. The three new tracks were described as “more raw and emotional than almost anything that the heartthrob has ever written before,” in order to show fans “the pain he’s in now that he’s no longer with her.”

What do you think of Believe Acoustic? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.