Justin Bieber has done a lot in the last year. He totally got his sh*t together and put out Purpose, an album that contained some of his best music to date — anchored by “Sorry” and its accompanying video — and began to enter the adult pop star phase of his career. Initially, I wasn’t feeling his new album and was fixated on some of its more reactionary tracks, but a year later, the record is still holding up.
Part of the proof that his new music is resonating lies in the fact that his Purpose tour is one of the biggest in the world — even if critics have noted that Bieber looks a little a little weary. Then I watch a video like the one that gossip hounds TMZ posted today, and I understand why he is.
In the clip from last night’s show in the UK, Bieber is trying to give an uplifting speech to his fans about their purpose in life. He’s even sharing his own struggle about how sometimes he feels like he doesn’t know what his own role in the world is. Which, honestly, is totally normal for a kid in their early twenties to feel and want to share! But his fans aren’t really listening or connecting, so he gets frustrated and asks if they prefer if he just go back to singing. Understandably, they cheer at that statement, probably not quite grasping his frustration.
TMZ made it seem like Bieber was telling his fans to shut up, or being rude to them, but honestly that isn’t the case. In the clip I see a kid who is trying to go beyond just the music and ends up feeling shut down by an unreceptive audience. I’ve only had that occur in conversations with a couple people, so I’m sure feeling it on the enormous scale of an arena crowd is much more overwhelming. Which leads me to the question: What will it take for Justin Bieber’s fans to start respecting him? Hopefully, that era is coming soon.