Review: Justin Bieber’s new album has hidden and unexpected gems

Ryan Morris

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Justin Bieber’s newest album leaked online this past week, a few days shy of its scheduled release date for Tuesday.

The album, “Believe: Acoustic,” features acoustic renditions of eight of the songs from his third studio album “Believe,” as well as three new acoustic songs.

With this album, Bieber seems to be caught in the Disney trap that many of his peers got stuck in.  The thought process behind the making of “Acoustic” seems to be something along the lines of Justin Bieber getting a little too old for pop music and slowing down a bit.

In reality, this doesn’t really work and we’re left with an album that is one part really bad covers of his guilty pleasure pop songs, one part whiny – but bearable – covers of his romantic songs and one part pretty good new releases.

The three new songs are “Yellow Raincoat,” “I Would” and “Nothing Like Us.”  All three together show Bieber’s lyrical capabilities, and they are definitely the best songs on the album.

Though technically “acoustic,” most songs include more than just an acoustic guitar and the Biebs’ famous falsetto. “I Would” features drums, acoustic guitar and violin.

Unfortunately, his more popular songs, such as “All Around The World” and “As Long As You Love Me,” don’t exactly translate to acoustic well, and his non-falsetto voice comes off shaky and pubescent in many places.

By far the worst song on “Acoustic” is “Boyfriend.”  In its original, highly auto-tuned format, “Boyfriend” is ultra-popular and unashamedly ultra-fun.  In its acoustic form though, it is hell – especially when Bieber tries to rap.

Bieber’s guitar-picking sidekick is the quiet gem of “Acoustic.”  Dan Kantor, who is also the Biebs’ musical director, is no Doc Watson by any means, but his skills on the acoustic guitar add a natural element to certain songs on the album.

With the picking in the background, you can almost see why 14 year olds swoon over lyrics such as “do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do in my head we’re already together.”

Well, not really, but it does make it much more tolerable.

Overall, despite what his critics say – and they can be very harsh – “Acoustic” does do an OK job of proving that Justin Bieber does have actual talent.  It showcases his songwriting abilities and falsetto range more than a typical dance record would, but it also proves that his talent is probably best put to use continuing to write and record guilty pleasure dance-pop.

After all, lines like “Baby, baby, baby, oh” do sound much better with fancy microphones and little help from Ludacris.

Rating: Two out of four stars.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter