JUSTIN Bieber is stripping down. Musically, that is.
The Canadian pop phenomenon showcases his vocal and song-writing talents with a new acoustic album, which was released on Tuesday, that also features three new tracks, including a heartbreak ballad thought to be about his former girlfriend Selena Gomez.
Believe Acoustic sees Bieber, 18, change up the arrangements of songs from his fourth chart-topping album Believe, released last June, singing with only a guitar or piano-driven melody.
The album went straight to the top of the iTunes US album charts on Tuesday, and won generally warm reviews.
Up-tempo songs such as Boyfriend and Beauty and the Beat, which roped in electronic sounds with fast-paced dance beats, are slowed down as the singer uses his vocals to manipulate the vibe of the song.
Believe Acoustic sees Bieber return to his acoustic roots five years after he was discovered on YouTube, singing on the streets of Canada accompanied only by a guitar.
It was released following Bieber’s failure to pick up a Grammy nomination this year, despite having a chart- topping album and a sold-out world tour.
Bieber often performs acoustic versions of his hits, most recently at the American Music Awards in November, where he delivered a stripped-down version of dance song As Long As You Love Me.
But most ears now are turned to new track Nothing Like Us, which follows Bieber’s widely reported split from former Disney Channel star Gomez.
It features Bieber singing a raw and emotion-filled ballad over a piano melody, with lyrics such as, Girl, why would you push me away? Lost in confusion, like an illusion … But that is the past now, we didn’t last now.
Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard music magazine, who interviewed Bieber last week, said the song was “directly about Selena” and that fans were anticipating the singer sharing his feelings about something this personal. Werde said he hoped people would take notice of Bieber’s song-writing and vocal production skills on the new album.
“Some of the best songwriters that are working out of our pop space are the ones that can take these very, very specific feelings that you would expect a teenager or a young adult to have and then sing and write about them in a way that makes them universal,” said Werde.
“That’s a skill that needs to be respected. It’s not easy to write great, simple love songs.”