Justin Bieber’s team held a listening party for Believe last night at the Def Jam offices, and we were there!
Scooter Braun (wearing a Space Mountain T-shirt) played the album, regular-edition and bonus tracks, in full. Aside from the tracks we’ve heard, which are a lot (all the features, for instance), there’s a lot of acoustic balladry, whether it’s guitar-led (“Fall,” “Be Alright”), gospel choir-driven (“Believe”) and A Walk to Remember-inspired storylines (“Fall” again.) In other words, there’s perhaps a reason other than just image that Bieber’s been sneaking inspirational lyrics like “all around the world, people want to be loved” into his dance tracks; it’s a little more representative of what’s yet to be heard.
More energetic fare is on the bonus tracks, like “Out of Town Girl,” which has now beaten “Boyfriend” in the “swag”-to-runtime ratio, and probable standout “She Don’t Like the Lights,” which builds an absolutely huge beat out of flashbulbs and groupie angst.
Then there’s “Maria,” which has nothing to do with Mariah Yeater. The fact that it starts with snippetized Today Show headlines, contains the line “met me on the tour, knocking on my door, she was scheming” and ends the album with “she’s not my girl!” and sounds remarkably like “Billie Jean” is immaterial. (This incidentally means that Bieber, in one album, has gone from the Ben samples on “Die in Your Arms” to Thriller. That’s a lot of Jackson years. Credit Spotify, or credit Bieber’s range.)
Here’s a preview:
As we said, this track has nil to do with Mariah Yeater, and any similarities to “Billie Jean” are complete press speculation. (That’s also probably why it’s a bonus track and not on the actual album; it’s enough of a contradiction that this is a mass-market release abut not giving some girl added attention.) The following exchange, therefore, is also 100%, totally, irrevocably,
Audience member: “Is there a chance Bieber could recreate, shot-by-shot, the ‘Billie Jean’ video?”
Braun: “If he had his way, he would!” (laughs)
And the idea’s out. We now expect some enterprising fan to do it by July.