Seven albums. 2,845,300,514 YouTube video views. 50,885,948 Facebook fans. 33,940,784 Twitter followers. 4.7 million total album sales. 22 minutes to sell out Madison Square Garden.
18-year-old Justin Bieber has already accomplished more in his young life than most musicians who have been in the industry for half a decade. Bieber released his first album, My World, in 2009, and since then has become one of the biggest names in music. From pop to rap to acoustic, Bieber’s musical genius is making it clear that he’s here to stay.
Bieber released his third studio album, Believe, in June 2012. He soon gained respect from hasty doubters that were intent on believing that Bieber was just a teen sensation: one that would be remembered for his teen pop sound and high-pitched singing voice. But Believe debuted the artist’s much more mature sound. The album consists of collaborations with artists most people wouldn’t have expected to hear on a Bieber CD, such as Nicki Minaj, Drake and Big Sean.
Believe was a gold mine for Bieber. After performing an acoustic version of his song, “As Long As You Love Me,” at the 2012 American Music Awards, fans flocked to YouTube to hear this new rendition. Fans everywhere wanted to know where they could get their hands on this acoustic version since it was not available on iTunes. With urging from his management, Bieber opted to turn Believe into an acoustic album.
On Jan. 29, 2013, the much-anticipated Believe Acoustic album was released. Bieber turned eight of his hits from Believe into acoustic versions. He cut out all collaborations and instead recorded every song alone, giving each one a very different feel from the original. In “As Long As You Love Me,” Justin raps Big Sean’s verse with ease, making fan girls swoon at his ability to do everything perfectly.
Justin Bieber’s well-known song “Boyfriend” takes a turn for the better when changed to an acoustic arrangement. The original bumping club melody is calmed down as Bieber’s relaxed, boyish voice projects over the light guitar played in the background.
For this album, Bieber also wrote three extra acoustic songs to add to the eight renditions. The last song on the album, “Nothing Like Us,” is a heartbreaking tune that is said to be about his on-again, off-again lover, Selena Gomez. The barely-there guitar in the background creates an almost a cappella sound from Bieber. When he sings the lyrics “’Cause nothing can ever / Ever replace you / Nothing can make me feel like you do,” listeners can hear the pain in his voice because there is little to no melody behind it. Bieber’s stripped-down voice isn’t drowned out by throbbing beats and loud guitars, allowing the audience access into his thoughts, vulnerabilities and authentic, raw voice.
Believe Acoustic gives listeners a chance to really hear Justin Bieber’s voice. Not only is Bieber a talented musician, but also a smart businessman. Releasing an acoustic version of a successful album was genius. With this addition to his already incredible album lineup, it won’t come as a surprise when Bieber beats his own record and sells out Madison Square Garden in less than 22 minutes.
3.5 out of 5 stars.