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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Justin Bieber channels his past in new single, “Lonely”


If anyone has been productive during the pandemic, it’s Justin Bieber. The pop singer has released one chart-topping hit after another, including “Stuck with U” with Ariana Grande, “Falling For You” with Jaden, and “Holy” featuring Chance The Rapper. On Oct. 16, Bieber released his newest single “Lonely” with Benny Blanco. 

Benny Blanco and famous songwriter Finneas produced the song, and the two worked with Bieber to help write the music and lyrics. Despite the addition of these big names, the final product of the song features only a piano and Bieber’s vocals. 

Bieber takes his music in a new direction with “Lonely.” Whereas in his past songs he sings about love and happiness, among other positive themes, this new single takes a different approach. “Lonely” is much more vulnerable and raw as he reflects on the dark side of fame. Bieber draws inspiration from his own life and sings about grappling with loneliness and fame at a young age.

“And maybe that’s the price you pay / For the money and fame at an early age / And everybody saw me sick / And it felt like no one gave a sh** / They criticized the things I did as an idiot kid,” Bieber sings.

The public is well-versed in the controversial past Bieber is referencing in this song. After finding fame at the age of 13 and selling out stadiums at 16, Bieber went through turbulent times as a young adult in the spotlight, which included multiple arrests and a DUI. He later apologized for his behavior, but his new reputation stuck with him and he struggled to maintain popularity. Shortly afterwards, Bieber took a break from music. His last album before his informal five-year hiatus was “Purpose,” released in 2015. Bieber returned to the pop music scene with the album “Changes” earlier this year.

Bieber also released a music video on YouTube to accompany the new, reflective song. The video stars 14-year-old Jacob Tremblay, an actor well known for his roles in the films “Room” and “Wonder.” In the video, Tremblay is styled after “My World,” 2010era Bieber: the iconic purple hoodie and the famous, swooping “Bieber hair.” The video begins with Tremblay alone in a dressing room. He’s signaled by Blanco and begins his journey to the stage. Upon his arrival to the stage, he looks out to what seems like an empty crowd. The last shot of the video zooms in to show Bieber as the only fan in attendance— he is watching his teenage self put on a facade. He is the only one who truly knows how lonely he felt at the time. 

The music video currently has 23 million views on YouTube.

“It’s honestly so cool to see a younger version of myself played by no other than Jacob Tremblay, who is one of my favorite young actors. It’s just so cool to see the perspective of how I felt when I was that age and not knowing what was to come,” Bieber said in an interview with Billboard

“Lonely” is currently available on all streaming platforms.

Featured Image courtesy of Budiey via Flickr Creative Commons

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Justin Bieber channels his past in new single, “Lonely”