"You are not alone. God loves you. I love you. It is not a pastor who evangelizes crowds. Justin Bieber is speaking to his followers on Tuesday evening in London during a mini-concert organized to announce the release of his fifth album, "Changes", this Friday. A planetary first for which some fans came from South America and Asia. And for good reason, the Canadian has not released a record for more than four years, forever for a pop star.
It must be said that his return is almost a miracle. That he is alive at only 25 is a miracle. Adored as much as mocked, the Canadian has been on board an endless roller coaster for ten years. When he was believed to be cured of his addictions - highlighted by his arrest in the United States for driving under the influence of drugs in 2014 -, he sank again in 2017, during the world tour of the album "Purpose" and owes his salvation only to his wife, Hailey, and to God.
This redemption, this rebirth, is what his new album, "Changes", says. We discover it Tuesday afternoon when listening to the disc in preview. In a nightclub near Oxford Circus, the singer has invited in the greatest secrecy a few dozen European journalists and influencers.
Between hip-hop and futuristic R'n'B
"Hello, I'm Justin. Surprise, it is he who settles in the cabin of the disc jockey with his sound engineer to make us listen to his songs and comment on them. Second surprise for those who do not follow him on social networks, Justin has a mustache. But for the rest, nothing new, it's always a sweatshirt (from its brand) and baggy pants.
We know the first three titles of his disc, "Yummy", "Intentions" and "Get Me", which have earned him to be currently the most listened to artist in streaming in the world, with more than 62 million plays in a month. Tuesday, he unveils the 13 other titles of "Changes".
A disc in tune with the times, between hip-hop and futuristic R'n'B, between Drake and The Weeknd, with five duets, the most successful of which are "Forever", with Post Malone, and "Second Emotion", with Travis Scott… What surprises in this album which is pleasant to listen to, modern and produced with taste, is that there are few dancing songs and no obvious hit.
VIDEO @justinbieber performing his new song "Intentions" at an exclusive world premiere yesterday night @ indigoatTheO2 in London # JustinBieber #justinbieberlondon pic.twitter.com/PdzEvVyMDL- Eric Bureau (@Eric_Bureau) February 12, 2020
Very introspective and intimate, the texts can be heard as a diary reads. "This album talks about my changes," he explains between two titles. My life has gone through so many changes. Good, bad, some that I wanted, others not. I had to adapt to it, like everyone else. No one knows what tomorrow is made of. Life is fragile. There are so many people dying around us. You have to appreciate the little things. He quotes "Fast Car", by Tracy Chapman as one of his favorite songs, inspiring "At Least For Now".
"This album is completely dedicated to my wife"
"All Around Me", "Forever", "Get Me", "Available", "That's What Love Is", most of the songs are about his wife, model Hailey Baldwin, 23, a teenage friend with whom he got married in September after a tumultuous relationship. "This album is completely dedicated to my wife and our love," he says, while grabbing his smartphone and trying to call his sweet in FaceTime. "She's in Los Angeles, we talked this morning. I miss her. "
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He is touching when he sings, closing his eyes, flying with his arms, scrutinizing our reactions, trying a thumbs up to know if we like… He amuses us with an anecdote about one of his relatives, present, at who he had sent an orange to in the parties and who had trouble having children. “I hope I had nothing to do with it. He asks: "Who is married or in a couple? Who is not ? Who has children? Who doesn't have one? To those who lift their finger and declare themselves celibate, he says: "I will pray for you. Which makes everyone laugh.
"My life is more structured today"
Our “Bieber Day” ends Tuesday in north London in a room filled with 2,000 screaming fans, the “Beliebers”. Before singing them five songs in acoustic version, he talks about his faith. Bieber talks more and more since he met Carl Lentz, an evangelical Christian pastor much loved by the American showbiz, and that the latter baptized him in 2014. He talks about his wife, says that they watch Netflix together , play sports and "what you imagine, and it's pretty crazy".
He also talks about the "fights" he has waged in recent years, "especially against Lyme disease" (Editor's note: infectious disease transmitted by a tick bite, which can affect organs, skin, joints and the system nervous) . "But my life is more structured today," he says. It took me a long time to make this album. I won't take that long next time. "
"Changes ", by Justin Bieber, RBMG / Def Jam, 15.99 euros. Released this Friday, February 14.