It is no big secret that I am a huge fan of popular music. From Brittney Spears to Ariana Grande, I love it all. It’s catchy. It’s fun. It gets you dancing and singing. One of my favorite sensations is driving around in the summertime with the windows down and blaring the latest pop single from Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez.
So it’s no surprise that that recently ventured over to the local public library to grab Justin Bieber’s newest album Purpose. Everyone loves the clever and biting “Love Yourself.” “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry” have nice beats. “Where Are U Now” has that crazy electronic background thing. All the hits are great, but I was curious to dig into the “deeper” tracks. I figured a lot of it would be garbage, and, well, it is. However, there are two gems: “Life Is Worth Living” and “Purpose.”
Everyone has heard that the suicide rate in this country is sky-rocketing. In fact, pre-teen girls are amongst the most affected, so it was really comforting for me to listen to the 22-year-old punk preach that life is worth living. He sings with some measure of sincerity, “People make mistakes, doesn’t mean you have to give in… Life is worth living again.” It actually touched me. I was shocked. I thought to myself, “Wow. Who would have known? The ‘Beebs’ is right!”
Throughout the song, he also brings up the topic of forgiveness. AMEN! The little brat has said some horrible things. He’s been arrested. He has walked off the stage in front of thousands for nonsensical reasons. He’s essentially been a disappointment to America. BUT! BUT! The kid comes back with a song called “Sorry” and teaches us to pick ourselves back up after we have fallen. Sure, it has it’s “kudos” for good publicity, but, still, the message is there. Message to earth…Justin Bieber is 22, and he has had wild success. He has made some mistakes–not a surprise. He’s growing. He’s maturing. This album is the product of a more seasoned human being, and I thank him for it.
It is true: I’m not one to promote the idea that “kids will be kids.” (I mean, I am becoming a Catholic priest, you know…) But, yes, people screw up, and it is nice to hear a pop artist say that he’s sorry and then come out with a few tracks that promote the common good.
“Purpose,” the song for which the album is named, is also pretty stunning. Bieber goes into one of those cheesy post-song speeches and says, “God, I’m giving it all I got, sometimes I’m weak and I’m gonna do it, and it’s like I’m not giving myself grace… I’m just…understanding, that’s just how it is.” Exactly. Spot on. You’re not perfect, Justin. You’ve screwed up in big ways and in small ways. You have been the butt of many jokes because of it. The story doesn’t end there. You can let God give you grace. You can seek to “be a better you.” That’s a message we need to hear. Our culture is so unforgiving. Can we forgive Justin Bieber? Can we forgive him “seventy-times-seven”? I don’t know, but he’s convinced me. I’m in the same boat. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been there, but each day I try to be better and to let grace in.
Thanks, Justin, for being real. You’ve probably saved a few girls lives with that album. Let’s see more of it.
“You bless me with the best gift
That I’ve ever known:
You give me purpose”
–“Purpose” by Justin Bieber
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.