The Bottom Line
In his ongoing effort to sound more adult, Justin Bieber embraces dubstep on this second single from the album Believe. He does accomplish the feat of sounding more like a young adult artist and less like a teenager catering to tween girls. It is also a welcome introduction of heavier dubstep sounds to mainstream pop radio. Unfortunately, the heavy processing of the song and somewhat silly lyrics cause much of the charm of Justin Bieber to be lost somewhere in the mix.
- Dubstep mix
- Moving outside of the comfort zone
- Uncomfortable lyrics
- Over processed mix
- Written by Rodney Jerkins, Andre Lindal, Nasri Atweh Sean Anderson, and Justin Bieber
- Produced by Rodney Jerkins and Andre Lindal
- Released July 2012 by Schoolboy Records
Guide Review - Justin Bieber - "As Long As You Love Me" featuring Big Sean
Listening to "As Long As You Love Me" it sounds like Justin Bieber and his primary producer Rodney Jerkins sat down in the studio throwing everything against the wall that sounded to them like "adult" dance pop. The production here is dominated by dubstep, but it is also very busy sounding. Heavy processed beats, echo effects, and swirling synth textures are everywhere, and, oh yes, there are vocals by Justin Bieber somewhere in the mix. Despite the overdone mix, the title hook of "As Long As You Love Me" does manage to stick in the brain.
Justin Bieber did say he looks to Justin Timberlake and his now classic FutureSex / LoveSounds album for inspiration in moving forward with more adult music. However, where that album sounded effortless and seemed to fit Justin Timberlake like a glove, Justin Bieber sounds like he is wading into a pool of electronic studio gadgetry that threatens to drown at every move. Somewhat confusingly, the cover of the single "As Long As You Love Me" depicts him sitting on a stool with acoustic guitar. There is nothing about that image that calls to mind the sound of this single.
Lyrically, Justin Bieber pledges never ending love even in the most dire circumstances. Handled deftly, that sentiment could have been riveting, but instead, lines like, "We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke," sound disingenuous, and, "You can be my Destiny's Child on a scene," is simply uncomfortable. Justin Bieber sings the words passionately, but his sincerity is in question.
Despite the weaknesses, there is a catchiness to "As Long As You Love Me," and Justin Bieber is to be applauded for stepping well outside of his teen pop comfort zone. Is this the most fruitful area for his development as a young adult pop artist? That question is not completely answered here, but I am left wanting to hear more stripped down and straightforward pop from Justin Bieber and not an effort to be the second coming of Justin Timberlake.