From a boy to a man: Justin Bieber’s miraculous transformation

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Once a worldwide sweetheart, only to later be shunned by his most loyal ‘Beliebers’ – but now, he’s back on top.

It’s no secret that Justin Bieber has had a tough few years. The once fresh-faced singer who had hits with the stereotypical pop tunes ‘Baby’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ forfeited his image as a Canadian boy with an angelic voice and a rather adorable bowl-cut, following a string of events difficult for even the most experienced Public Relations manager to handle. Yes, Bieber’s managers are still desperately hoping that no one remembers the incident in which a chimpanzee was confiscated from him at a German airport.

The end of 2015 gave a hint of what is to come, that 2016 is to be The Year of The Bieber. But how, exactly, did Justin Bieber save his image? The answer is that he didn’t. Justin Bieber didn’t attempt to salvage his old image as an innocent teenager attempting to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of showbiz, also finding a ‘shawty’ to spend the rest of his life with. No, instead he constructed an entirely new image. Successfully creating a new one in a world in which a celebrity’s metamorphosis can be tracked by a quick Google search is no easy task, as Chris Brown has found out the hard way.

Justin Bieber’s newfound success is due to two key factors: his music and his image. Before tackling the music issue, Bieber’s team of experts clearly sat down and had a long think. They then came up with the conclusion that given the fact he had acquired a ‘bad boy’ reputation, they needed to re-vamp his image. But what they did was very clever, rather than trying to label his antics as a one-off and claim that he was still the sweet Canadian teenager the world saw on YouTube, they allowed him to go on TV and publically apologise for his mistakes. Presenters such as Ellen DeGeneres and Matt Lauer were key in showing the world that, like every other teenager, Biever delved into the ‘difficult phase’ tunnel but came out the other side stronger.

This liberating approach to handling his career set Bieber off on a quest to find himself. With over 40 tattoos, an intense workout routine, a completely different wardrobe and social circle, Bieber’s life has changed dramatically over the last few years; but it’s a transformation the world has seen, accepted, and even embraced. The Bieber-bowl cut vanished and a quaffed quiff appeared in its place, and his skinny teenage frame transformed into that of a rugged 20-something good enough to model for Calvin Klein. Now Bieber’s image is that of someone who, having suffered heartbreak, is just trying to focus on his music.

Now, as for the music side of things, Bieber’s early albums, My World and My World 2.0 were full of tracks that blurred into one. There was no distinguishing factor between the lyrics and the sound of one song from another. So it goes without saying that the change in Bieber’s music has been key in re-establishing himself in the music industry. His new album Purpose features an array of songs, some focusing on relationships (‘Sorry’, ‘Love Yourself’) others on deeper or more emotive topics (‘Children’), but thankfully you can tell one apart from the other, both in terms of content and sound. The release of the album was achieved in a Beyoncé-esque style, with music videos released at once and reflecting the diversity of the album. The chart-toppers, ‘Where are Ü Now’ and ‘What Do You Mean’ blissfully blend an alternative ‘deep house’ style with electro and pop, while the vastly different ‘Love Yourself’, focusing only on an acoustic guitar and vocals, showcases Bieber’s vocal skill and versatility. The result is that Purpose is a masterpiece. There’s something there for the mums, the sons, the daughters and even the dads.

Long gone is the petition to deport Justin Bieber back to Canada, in fact it’s been replaced with a poster from his new album. Well done, Bieber, well done.

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Law student at the University of Southampton.

1 Comment

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    I think it’s a stretch to call Purpose a masterpiece. It’s culturally important, and most of the songs are good, to really, very, I-like-this-a-lot-and-love-dancing-to-it, good, but it also felt a little thematically inconsistent. Musically, it also sounded to me more like an epitome of what the Pop genre now means, when it’s really good, rather than stepping outside of those boundaries very much and pushing things further. It’s different for Bieber but not for the landscape. I like it a lot, but if anything I was left to thinking “Oh the NEXT one could be his 1989”

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