I’m kind of a music eclectic. I’m a worship leader and love worship music. My preferences are not limited to “Christian” music by any means though. I can do pop with my teen daughters, country is fine, the oldies make me happy, jazz is awesome, I can even handle rap for a limited time. About the only genre I can’t do is heavy metal. Just my preference. So even though I’m 37 years old, married with 4 kids, I thought I’d weigh in on Justin Bieber’s newest album, “Purpose.”
First of all, let’s be honest, if I didn’t have tween and teen girls in my house, I may not know a whole lot about Justin Bieber. But I do, so I do. Like many young pop-stars, this young man’s early fame and success has taken a toll on his ethics. Raised by a sweet and godly mama, and starting his limelight career with worship songs on YouTube, he ventured off the straight and narrow for a while. But, there’s some media out there about a ‘heart change’ with this young man and, lyrically, in this album, I have to say it seems true. The maturity heard in the soul-felt lyrics is profound. The redemption and hope found in several songs is vulnerable and authentic. If I was this boy’s mama (which I’m nearly old enough to be) I would be proud. Though 21 year old, Justin’s life in the spotlight has proven to be rocky in the not-too-distant past, it seems that he’s finding some redemption and some hope.
Let’s first talk about the title song, Purpose. Makes me cry every. single. time. We’re all looking for security and purpose. Justin seems to have found where true purpose comes from as he sings, “Ask you to forgive me from my sins…. my spirit’s at ease… I put heart into your hands… learn the lessons you teach…” Last I checked, Jesus is the only One able to forgive sins and giving Him our heart is where that journey begins. Good preachin’, JB.
Another heart-tugger is Life is Worth Living. Singing about him giving us direction… one can only believe JB is talking about God. “I ain’t perfect, won’t deny, my reputation is on the line so I’m working on a better me…” Oh, yes Justin, life is worth living again when you’ve found the One worth living for.
Children is one of my favorites because it seems to come right out of my life verse, Malachi 4:6, “and He will return parents’ hearts to their children and children’s hearts to their parents.” (The Voice translation) Singing about wearing your heart on your sleeve and being a visionary and making a difference… this song may become my life anthem.
The entire album isn’t so deep and philosophical. With it’s profound but fun lyrics paired with that current pop vibe, Love Yourself is a hit with me. Singing about letting go of a self-absorbed and controlling ex and mentioning his mama being right about her…. I mean, any time a young man refers to his mama in a respectful way, my ears (and my heart) perk up.
Justin’s pop sound of this decade is not lost and the album is a mix of heart truths and those ‘hey girl’ songs. I’m a little old to enjoy the whiny, monotonous synthesizer in Where Are Ü Now but this album wasn’t geared towards almost 40 year old women. I can’t help but think that “Purpose” will bring a generation into some heart-searching moments. I pray that in the searching they find the One that brings meaning to life and gives vision and purpose. Just like it seems that Justin is finding.