“My life is a movie. And everyone’s watching. So let’s get to the good part.”
Though that sounds a bit egotistical, it’s hard to not keep an eye on Justin Bieber after he rode the coattails of Skrillex and Diplo this summer on their triple-threat hit “Where are Ü Now.” The song plastered Bieber’s face all over the EDM scene and bought him newfound respect.
I know there’s a fine line separating sarcasm and sincerity when talking about Bieber, but I’m serious. Curiosity has taken hold of me, and let me tell you why.
Music has a muddled history of focusing on the artist rather than the art. The issue with this misguided focus is that when artists like Cee-Lo Green, Kanye West or Bieber makes a mistake, it explodes all over every media outlet. Suddenly the artist is unanimously hated by the public for years and years with no sympathy. As the years continue to pass by, though, the public slowly begins to welcome them back as if the artists have spent their due time in confinement. I think Bieber’s time is about up.
As far as I’m concerned, he has managed to climb out of the grave he dug himself three years ago as he awkwardly transitioned from teen heartthrob to try hard bad-boy, resulting in the release of his terrible hip-pop album “Believe” and multiple minor arrests. Earlier this year, the Comedy Central “Roast of Justin Bieber” served as the beginning of his transition from bad boy to clean-cut star, a promise that began to see light with “Where are Ü Now.”
Luckily, the chemistry between Bieber and Skrillex didn’t end with that single song.
Skrillex has stepped up as one of Bieber’s go-to producers and subsequently given the world ample proof that he’s going to help change Bieber for the better. Besides the duo having one of the contenders for song of the summer, Skrillex recently teamed up with hip-hop artists Vic Mensa and The Game, showing that his musical capability extends beyond simply EDM and dubstep: he can help anyone make nearly guaranteed hits.
So far all three of Bieber’s recent singles have been produced by Skrillex, and while they have more mystique than boom, they’re still catchy as hell. There are honest lyrics and a nice touch of R&B over an EDM anatomy. He still does that whiney thing with his voice that no one likes, but at least he’s trying.
Skrillex won’t be producing the entirety of Bieber’s new album “Purpose,” which will be released Friday, but he has set the pace for Bieber to follow. Rick Rubin, Kanye West, Nas and Travis Scott are all confirmed as having helped create the album — and the former two are featured on songs — creating speculation that there will be an even more noticeable hip-hop imprint on the songs we have yet to hear. Successful collaborators like these make me want to give Bieber the benefit of the doubt.
Now to make some popcorn and see if this really is the good part.
Benj Salkind is an undeclared sophomore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @benjsalkind.