I thought this moment would never come, but finally, finally, Justin Bieber's new album Purpose is out, and I can start to mine through it for details like like: is Bieber's outro on "Purpose" a response to Selena Gomez? This is the kind of stuff I live for, and I refuse to apologize for it. So, like I said, the specific song I'm focusing on is "Purpose", and not the actual song itself, but the final 50 seconds at the end where he switches from singing to speaking. Call me crazy, but it puts me in mind of a similar spoken word section from Gomez's album For You, on the song "The Heart Wants What It Wants", a track that really couldn't have been about anyone but Justin Bieber. And everybody knew it, with lines like:
When I was on, when I was onstage, and I was thinking of... I felt like I know, I know him though, and I know that... and I know his heart. And I know what he wouldn't do to hurt me.
Um yeah, Bieber for days. So, with that in mind, was Bieber's outro directed at Gomez's intro? (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.) We don't have confirmation from him, and unlike Gomez's song, which was about a romantic relationship, Bieber's "Purpose" appears to be about his relationship with God, but they both kind of incongruously share deep thoughts on a very personal track, so I still think the outro was inspired by Gomez. Even if it isn't directed at her per se, there are enough similarities that I think it's designed to make us do exactly what I'm doing now — speculate on the connection. But you can make your own decision! Here's the text of the outro on "Purpose" so you can make up your own mind:
I don't know if this is wrong because someone else is telling me that it's wrong, but I feel this so let me just like, try my best not to let this happen again. We weren't necessarily put in the best position to make the best decisions. You can't be hard on yourself for these were the cards that you were given, so you have to understand that these, like... that's not who you are. You know you're trying to be the best you can be, but that's all you can do. If you don't give it all you got, you're only cheating yourself. Give it all you got, but if it ends up happening, it ends up happening. That's what it's... happening with me. It's like God I'm giving it all I got, sometimes I'm weak and I'm gonna do it, and it's like I'm not giving myself grace, I'm just like understanding, that's just how it is.
OK no, you know what? I changed my mind. I feel like this is definitely both to and about Gomez, because it reads as Bieber defending himself for the mistakes he's made, which is very on-game for him. What made Gomez's intro so compelling on "The Heart Wants What It Wants" was that she was sharing real thoughts and feelings, and in trying to mimic that, Bieber falls short. I think it's supposed to be an apology of some sort, as is this whole album, frankly, but instead it just reads as more of a shrug, and a meandering one at that.
At the end of the day, I think this passage is supposed to A. give me some insight into Bieber as a person, and B. respond to Gomez in a way that takes responsibility. But instead, it does neither, and I'm left with even more empathy for Gomez about how frustrating it must be to get through to Bieber as a person.