After a brief spell away from music Justin Bieber looks finally set to return in 2019 with a fifth album.
The Canadian pop star’s last full-length, ‘Purpose’, was released back in 2015. In our NME review of the LP – which spawned the hit singles ‘Sorry’, ‘What Do You Mean?’, and ‘Love Yourself’ – we wrote: “It’s not quite redemption – only time will tell if he’ll curb the recklessness – but it’s certainly a start at reinvention.”
But what will its follow-up bring? Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Is Bieber working on a new album – or has he quit music altogether?
A recent Vogue profile stated that last year Bieber had “made a decision to step back from music for the moment to focus on being the man he feels no one ever taught him how to be, and above all a good husband”.
“Just thinking about music stresses me out,” Bieber told Vogue. “I’ve been successful since I was thirteen, so I didn’t really have a chance to find who I was apart from what I did. I just needed some time to evaluate myself: who I am, what I want out of my life, my relationships, who I want to be—stuff that when you’re so immersed in the music business you kind of lose sight of.”
This followed a People report in November 2018 suggesting that Bieber was in no rush to return to music. A source told the publication: “It actually bugs him when people ask when he’s going back to the studio or on tour. He has worked for years, and the first time he takes a significant break, everyone’s all, ‘When’s he coming back?’ To Justin, those aren’t just questions — those are demands. For years, everyone has tried to take a piece of him. Just let him be.”
However, last November also saw Bieber post a cryptic Instagram post along with the caption: “Don’t believe everything you read sweet little girl you will hear something from me sooner than you think”.
The Blast reported at the time that Bieber had already “been working on his new studio album for months… traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Canada” and that “he’s had significant time in the studio, and has been recording everywhere.”
Do we have a release date for album #5?
Not yet, but there’s been speculation that it will drop during 2019.
In January, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun hinted that we could be getting a new record soon. Posting on Twitter, he said: “2019 is gonna be a wild one. I just feel it.” In a now-deleted tweet, Braun added: “JB5!?”, followed by a range of emojis. See those tweets below.
2019 is gonna be a wild one. I just feel it
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) January 5, 2019
JB5 IS COMING… ARE YOU READY? ? pic.twitter.com/yoAPoEdjEa
— Justin Bieber PH (@JBPhilippines) January 5, 2019
What songs could make it onto the tracklist?
Bieber has only released one official single since his last album and that was 2017’s ‘Friends’, a collaboration with BloodPop that reached No.2 in the UK charts. It’s not yet known whether that will feature on Bieb’s next album or whether it was simply a standalone release.
Having only performed live sporadically since the cancellation of his ‘Purpose’ World Tour in 2017, Bieber’s not been able to sample new material live. However, in September 2018, he covered Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit ‘Fast Car’ outside Buckingham Palace in London. It’s unlikely that he would re-record a rendition of that for any future LP though.
Is it going to be a religious album?
It was reported last year that Bieber’s new material could be inspired by his faith, after the star became increasingly active with an Evangelical church.
“Justin is on the lookout for songs which really reflect where he is in his life in terms of spirituality,’ a source told The Sun, describing the new record as “Christian-appropriate”. “He has always been religious but the last two years have seen him grow closer to the Hillsong Church and it has changed his entire life. He has a totally different outlook now.”
It was previously claimed that Bieber cancelled the remainder of dates on his ‘Purpose’ world tour in an attempt to reconnect with his faith.
“His time with the church has revitalised him and although he is working with a lot of the same people who helped to make his last album, ‘Purpose’, he is reshaping his sound so it is more in line with the church’s values and beliefs”, the source added. “There are key themes of love and redemption in the tracks he has created so far. It will certainly surprise some fans.”
What guest stars could appear?
Bieber’s 2017 single ‘Friends’ saw him reunite with BloodPop, Michaels and Tranter, so it’s likely that they’ll be involved in some form on his next record. He’s also recently collaborated with the likes of DJ Khaled, David Guetta and Post Malone, so maybe they will feature too.
Bieber joined Craig David onstage at a show in Los Angeles in March 2018, telling the crowd how the British star had supported him through the early stages of his career.
“So this guy right here supported me from day one, came to my shows”, Bieber told the audience. “I’ve got so much love for him. He’s an amazing guy, but he’s an incredible artist and I’m just glad to be here. I had so much fun.”
Meanwhile, at the end of 2017, Marilyn Manson hinted that he would be interested in collaborating with Bieber in the near future.
In September 2017, shock-rocker Manson make headlines after he called Bieber a “piece of shit” for claiming that he made him “relevant again” with his range of repurposed Manson merchandise. “He was a real piece of shit in the way he had the arrogance to say that,” Manson said of the incident.
However, Manson later suggested that the pair had reconciled, hinting at a possible collaboration between the pair. During an appearance on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show, Manson said: “We are cool. People just made that shirt stuff into a fake feud. Let’s turn it upside-down and fuck the press and do something together. It will be the best.”