Scooter Braun deserves all of the managerial accolades this year, because two of his acts are quietly running the show. (And just wait until CL’s solo stuff arrives…)
By now, it’s been established that Carly Rae Jepsen‘s new record, E•MO•TION, is pure pop gold, and “Run Away With Me” is one of the major contenders for song of the year, no matter how many detractors try to write her off. #Justice4Jepsen
The other potential candidate? “Where Are Ü Now?”, Justin Bieber‘s collaboration with Diplo and Skrillex (AKA Jack Ü) a lonely dispatch beamed in from a distant planet that worked better than anyone probably anticipated. It’s so good, it even warranted a beat-by-beat visual deep-dive by the New York Times — watch that.
After takin time away from the music scene to embark on an unofficial public apology tour for his various egg, spit and pee-related shenanigans (remember that seemingly sincere “sorry” speech during his Comedy Central Roast?) Bieber’s slowly tip-toed back into the spotlight in the past few months via collaborations with Cody Simpson and Jack Ü.
And now, he’s coming back, this time on his own, with the Poo Bear co-crafted “What Do You Mean?” — and he’s done it again. What do I mean? What do you mean?
The song might be about frustration over mixed messages from a lady friend (“girls are often just flip-floppy” was his amazing official explanation on On Air With Ryan Seacrest), but his smooth ‘n sexy delivery makes the song sound more like an invitation to jump on his back, hop on that dumb hoverboard and glide back to his place. (Lyrically, it’s like a response track to P!nk‘s “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely).”)
Kicking off with a light piano melody and a metronome-like beat, Justin gently croons his way into the calm production as warm, tropical House pulsations luxuriously fill out the track, bringing Kygo (“Stole The Show”) to mind…and yes, a strong hint of Felix Jaehn‘s inescapable remix of OMI‘s “Cheerleader,” too.
“What do you mean? / When you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no / What do you mean? / When you don’t want me to move, but you tell me to go / What do you mean?”
Girls: Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Am I right, Justin?
“What Do You Mean?” isn’t necessarily better than “Where Are Ü Now?”, but it does feel like the most logical sonic continuation from where Bieb’s hypnotizing Jack Ü pairing left off — and it’s arguably even more universal in its appeal. (Hey, if people loved “Cheerleader” so much…) It’s both understated and maddeningly catchy, and could/should be an end-of-summer smash, bookending Summer ’15 with two truly excellent servings of Bieber.
More than anything, this could be the song that convinces the public that Justin offers more as an artist than his teenybopper past might suggest.
As an added bonus, the song is Godney approved…and sponsored by the newly installed Piece Of Me Slot Machine®. Do you dare to take a spin?™
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 28, 2015
“What Do You Mean?” will be released on August 28. (iTunes)