April 22, 2019 / 3:04 PM

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Review: Justin Bieber releases five new R&B influenced songs to complete 'Journals' album [LISTEN]



After a one week delay, Justin Bieber finally released his new album Journals Monday morning (Dec. 23) right at midnight. Though the "All That Matters" singer promised one new, unannounced song, the full set arrived with the originally planned 15 songs and three videos on iTunes. However, there is a bonus track seperate from Journals entitled "Flatline." Following in the steps of his entire Music Mondays series, the five new tracks on Journals feature heavy R&B influences while each maintaining an original vibe.

Let's look at the five new songs one-by-one below, shall we?

The section of Journals that features previously unheard music begins with track No. 11: "One Life." "Say what you say / Do what you do," Bieber softly croons in the song's chorus. This song is all about volume control, with the teen idol never really exploding into a big musical statement. This song is quire reserved, and Bieber even manages to control his sometimes-grating upper register, which is used throughout the entire chorus. Mark this one as a success.

For "Backpack," Bieber and his collaborator Lil Wayne decided to go a little intergalactic. While this song lacks the personal flavor of literally every other song on Journals (except for "PYD"), it does contain a smooth melody and jiving beats that will easily worm their way into listener's heads. The normally mediocre Lil Wayne has a fittingly subdued guest verse that even contains some clever lines (and a Wayne's World reference). Is this song a throwaway? Possibly, and it's easy to see why it didn't make it to the Music Mondays portion of this project, but it fits nicely in the final third of the record.

Apparently "What's Hatnin'" is a thing the kids are saying these days, which just makes us here at Music Times feel old. Featuring Future, this song just exudes youth. The simplified, trap-influenced beat, the repetitive nature of the lyrics. If Bieber is trying to move himself in a more urban direction, this song definitely has him on track for that more so than anything else on Journals.

Here on "Swap It Out," it seems as though Bieber has returned to his introspective Music Mondays form. Lyrically, the teen idol looks into the complicated feelings that go into a relationship; mostly that he wants to "swap out" his feelings. This track falls the most in line with the first 10 Music Mondays single, with production values that are clearly complicated but manage to feel stripped down and simple.

Finally, for the 15th track on Journals, Bieber teamed back up with his "As Long As You Love Me" collaborator Big Sean (and Diplo) for "Memphis." Once again, this finds Bieber exploring a relationship, wherein he wants to be with his butterfly-giving girl 24/7. It's not really clear what this song has to do with Memphis, Tennessee, but it's a solid enough offering from Biebz and co., even if his voice does reach that whiney territory.

Justin Bieber's Journals is on sale at iTunes today (Dec. 23) until Jan. 2 and costs $13.99.

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