It's only been two and a half years since Justin Bieber's debut, yet Believe is a whole new ball game. He's definitely in the big leagues now.
JB's also broadened his musical horizons - as well as the poppy R&B of My World, he dabbles in Ibiza beats, hip hop, good ol' Motown, and more.
The first two singles show how far JB has come: on Boyfriend, he raps the verses himself, and sings the chorus in a breathy, sure voice; and As Long As You Love Me, though sadly not a tribute to BSB, sees him dip into dubstep.
Bieber's ultimate idol is Michael Jackson, and several tracks could've been recorded by a young or future MJ. The most obvious homage is Die In Your Arms, which samples the tinny riff and woah-ohs from Jackson's 1971 We've Got a Good Thing Going; the sweet Catching Feelings could actually be a young MJ in terms of vocal dexterity and melody.
Bieber also emulates that other Justin in places, notably on She Don't Like the Lights.
If you dismiss Believe on the basis of its being Bieber, it's time to get off your indie high horse and realise, like the megastars who guest-perform or produce did, that this boy can write, emote and wow, can he sing.
YP Rating: 4/5