From a PR perspective, Purpose is the album Justin Bieber had to make. The 21-year-old Canadian pop star spent the last couple years running amok from Munich (where his pet monkey was confiscated in 2013) to Miami Beach (scene of a 2014 DUI arrest) to Rio de Janeiro (that notorious brothel visit). And although he survived with his health and credibility intact, he’s in no position to gloat. For his fourth album to work, the Biebs needs to seem humble, repentant, and grown up.
All of which he does -- sometimes too well. “Don’t forget that I’m human,” Bieber begs on the chilled-out EDM ballad “I’ll Show You,” one of several tunes co-produced by Skrillex. (See also: the redemptive emo-dancehall jam “Sorry” and “Where Are U Now,” the smash Jack Ü collabo that jumpstarted this comeback.) “I’ve made a few mistakes,” Bieber reiterates on the po-faced R&B tune “No Pressure,” featuring Big Sean. “I’m the only one to blame.” On this mission to make amends, Bieber leaves nothing to chance. Even when he ups the tempo on the clubbier “Company,” he’s looking to “have a conversation,” not sip Cris.