(Def Jam)

You’ve got to give this Stratford Ontario kid his dues. Just when it seemed all his bad boy antics had conspired against him and popped a balloon with his devoted `Bielebers’, the Bieb has bounced back. First re-entering the charts with his summer hit collaboration with Skilrillex/Diplo “Where Are U Now” and following up with two back-to-back Billboard hits; “What Do You Mean” and “Sorry” which has nicely set-up the 18-song deluxe `Purpose’ extravaganza, Bieber is definitely showing signs of maturity, at least in the recording studio. Directing the record at a more mature EDM/pop audience, he may lose some of his teenybopper audience while at the same time earning the respect of new fans, ticket sales for his up-coming global concert tour will be revealing, yet Bieber may have dodged a bullet here and actually set himself up to bounce back even stronger than ever. It doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounded himself with the usual plethora of production and performance talent with Skrillex co-writing a number of tracks and the likes of Ed Sheeran, Nas, Travi$ Scott and Ariana Grande all contributing their chops. But what is impressive is that Bieber is also sharing the co-writing and co-producing credit which is another sign of his evolution as an artist and there’s a definite mature, self-assured quality in his vocals. Yes the Stratford Kid, who launched his career as a 16 year old on such a high, has definitely had his troubles in the public spotlight but it would be nice to think he’s matured as he’s hit his Twenties. Certainly his exposure on the Ellen DeGeneres show has had some influence in presenting a more mature personality and now he has the record to go out there and really turn things around. Now if he could just cool it with his on-stage tantrums and stay out of the gossip press, maybe his real talent will be acknowledged.

Download: “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry” “All That Matters”

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