The redemption of Justin Bieber continues. As if this fact needed underlining, his new single is called ‘Sorry’ and features him pleading: “Let me, oh let me redeem myself, I know that I’ve let you down”.
2014 was about Bieber the bad boy – getting arrested for drink driving and acting like a dickhead during a deposition for allegedly ordering his bodyguard to pulverise a pap. 2015, though, is about Bieber the Redeemer.
If you’re a pop star, it seems, you can always undo years of misbehaviour if you’ve got three banging singles up your sleeve. After the lilting ‘Where Are Ü Now’ (produced by Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü project) and the understated, emotionally insightful ‘What Do You Mean’, this single is Bieber’s latest shot in that salvo.
‘Sorry’’s job, then is to solidify Bieber 2.0’s place as a pensive, repentant man (though he’s still only 21, remember) and not the pop weasel we thought we knew. On that front, the track acquits itself very well indeed, with the singer acknowledging “I made those mistakes maybe once or twice / By once or twice I mean maybe a couple a hundred times”. The weird vocal sample, which sounds like its been fed through a spiraliser by producer Skrillex, offers the kind of attention to detail this career phase has been characterised by, while the pounding, dubby middle-eight saves the whole song from mawkishness.
It may lack ‘Where Are Ü Now’’s shock of the new and packs less emotional heft than ‘What Do You Mean’, but ‘Sorry’ is a relatable, self-aware ballad you can dance to. All is forgiven, Biebs.