2015 has been a promising year for Justin Bieber. In addition to making various television appearances to clean up his soiled 2013/2014 reputation (look at his roast on Comedy Central, for example), Bieber released a new single over the weekend entitled, “What Do You Mean?”
The news of Bieber’s independant return to music surfaced on July 29 during a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest. He admitted in the interview that although the making of his new album has been filled with a lot of self-doubt and difficulty, “What Do You Mean?” would be “amazing” since he “worked really hard on it.” Considering the song jumped to number 1 on iTunes almost immediately following its release, it’s safe to assume that Bieber was right.
“What Do You Mean?” closely follows in the footsteps of Skrillex’s “Where Are U Now”, a song Bieber lent his vocals to back in February. Both feature those “expensive sounds” Bieber mentioned in his interview, sounds that are very futuristic and “poppy”.
The song starts off with a simple piano melody and the tick-tocking of a clock, two elements of the song that are consistent throughout its 3-and-half minute duration. However, about 15 seconds in, listeners are introduced to a steady, techno beat accompanied by pan flute sounds. As weird as it sounds, it works really well. It’s not too overwhelming, yet it’s fun and summery. Even better, “What Do You Mean?” is a song people can dance to.
The same is true for its vocal content. For once, Bieber’s lyrics aren’t completely about heartbreak and being miserable. On Seacrest, he explained that the song centers around the premonition that “Girls are often…flip floppy. They say something and then mean something else. Like, what do you mean?” The lyrics of the song reflect that; “What do you mean? When you don’t want me to move, but you tell me to go” and “First you wanna go to the left, then you wanna turn right”. Obviously, the person Bieber’s talking about isn’t being straightforward enough, causing him to ask “What do you mean?”
For the most part, “What Do You Mean?” is a simple song with straightforward lyrics. There’s nothing wrong with that though; in fact, it works really well in Bieber’s case. With a song like “What Do You Mean?”, Bieber is making an effort to appeal to a wider audience than the teenaged girls that make up most of his following. Bieber deserves some major props for making a strong comeback by venturing out of his comfort zone.
Fans of Justin Bieber, old and new, can look forward to his album which drops on November 13 of this year.