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  • Cy White

Justin Bieber: Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)

Hoo-boy! It's been a long time since I've physically turned off an album before it reached the end. Congratulations, Bieber. Your Justice is the first album in several years that pissed me off so much I had to walk away to cool down.

Imagine a day like any other. I start my morning routine of washing the dishes, feeding the cat, getting ready for the work ahead of me. I turn on an album that I'd had no realistic intention of listening to from an artist I don't listen to in the first place. Imagine my surprise when the first thing I hear is an excerpt of an iconic speech from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The very. next. note. begins a song in which Bieber is opining the loss of a conquest and why she doesn't want him anymore. Are you kidding me?

You know, it's one thing to be completely ignorant. It's another to be disrespectful for the sake of getting your stream count up. The audacity, the unmitigated gall to call your album "Justice," cite a quote about the ugliness of injustice meted upon Black and Brown bodies at a time when overt lynching was considered a Sunday afternoon neighborhood event and compare that very real, very harrowing struggle to your inability to get laid...? Are you actually taking the piss? And that's the basis for your entire album? Guys, come on!

You know what? I don't even want to spend a lot of time on this. Barring the egregious and violently stupid decision to start an album with a quote from an assassinated Black leader, Justice is simply a mediocre album from a mediocre artist with a mediocre voice. That's forgivable enough. That's pretty much par for the course for any opaque-skinned penis-carrier on planet Earth. But the fact that this mediocrity is lauded as something more than what it is...

My intention was to keep any mention of the Grammys out of any of my reviews. The nomination is honestly a non-factor as far as the quality of an album. And boy does it show here. Whatever the criteria for choosing "Album of the Year," it can't be so basic that an album like Justice gets recognition over work that's nuanced, intelligent and not unbelievably tone deaf. It's not only the fact that we're rewarding mediocrity. It's that mediocrity is actually being celebrated, deemed the "best of the year."

This was...not a great way to start my day.



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