Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Moxie Raia | Allstate Arena | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Moxie Raia All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Sold Out (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Fri., April 22, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., April 23, 7:30 p.m. 2016

On the New York Times video about the creation of his smash collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo “Where Are U Now” Justin Bieber describes working on the tune with songwriting partner Jason Boyd (aka Poo Bear). “I was like, ‘This is wrong, Poo Bear,’” Bieber said. “He was like, ‘No, this is right, it’s just—it’s wrong-right.’” It’s an apt description of Bieber’s turn—and the reception to it—on November’s Purpose (RBMG/Def Jam). The intimate, restrained, and glimmering album isn’t perfect—it’s hurt by its length and an appearance by Big Sean—but the best songs offer the kind of transformation through pop that’s helped give Bieber a career jolt. It’s hard to ignore Purpose’s cornucopia of nonmusical narratives. It’s a critical delight by a former child superstar with golden pipes whose tumultuous teen years were intensified by the glare of the paparazzi (former Reader writer Miles Raymer perfectly describes the album in the A.V. Club as a “Teenybopper Growing Up Record”). The success of Purpose furthers new Bieber narratives—early single “What Do You Mean?” was his first Billboard number one—but the otherworldly parts of Purpose feel far removed from their maker’s mark. Yes, “Sorry” features Bieber pleading for forgiveness in breathy, yearning vocals that augment his earnestness, but when the song’s tropical-house thump and squeal kick in I’m more impelled to throw my hands in the air and move to the irresistible pulse than I am to identify with Bieber’s pouty face. Like many great pop songs “Sorry” is a three-minute burst of euphoria that feels unmoored by time.

Leor Galil

Price: sold out

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