Having taken on house and hip-hop in the album’s first two tracks, where else is there for a young pop star to gravitate in the year 2012 than towards dubstep? And so we have “As Long as You Love Me”—maybe a little closer to Katy Perry’s “E.T.” than a Flux Pavilion or Rusko track, but with the hard-hitting beat, whirring synths, and squelchy tendencies we’ve come to associate with the genre. Interestingly, it’s not one of the genre’s big names guest-producing on this one, but Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, knob-twiddler most famous for his turn-of-the-century R&B work, which Bieber shouts out via his sly “I’ll be your Destiny’s Child” lyrical drop.
The dubstep touches actually serve Bieber’s song well, one of the stickier, more delectable beats on the album. Unfortunately, Bieber’s songwriting team fails him, as the lyrics are a gauche mishmash of “All Around the World”s “love is all we need” cliché-spewing and “Boyfriend”s Best Significant Other Ever boasting, with the unforgettable (in the un-good way) chorus “As long as you love me / We could be starving / We could be homeless / We could be broke,” lyrics that should probably never be uttered by an 18-year-old with his own Batmobile (or anyone else, really). With less preposterous lyrics, the song could be a standout track, but they burden the song somewhat mercilessly, pretty much at all times (“PLATINUUUUUUM!!”), and even through Big Sean’s corny guest verse (“Us, trust, a couple things I can’t spell without ‘u’”).
Also, not a single Backstreet Boys shout-out? What is the deal with that?