http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/justin-biebers-believe-acoustic-cover-1357467573-1359152807.jpg Believe: Acoustic

Justin Bieber

Believe: Acoustic

Island Def Jam
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
January 29, 2013

You thought "Chillin' by the fire while we eatin' fondue" was the most sublimely ridiculous lyric in pop history when Justin Bieber rapped it? Wait until you hear him sing it, in a love-man croon, over delicately brushed bossa-nova-style guitar. The latest offering from the Bieber Industrial Complex, featuring eight sotto voce acoustic renditions of songs from Believe, is worth it for that "Boyfriend" remake alone – and, yes, he sings the Buzz Lightyear rap, too, and sings it damn well.

As cash-grab "remix" albums go, Believe Acoustic offers a little added value, for hardcore fans, at least. The unplugged versions of blustery dance-pop bangers like "All Around the World" and "Beauty and a Beat" sound a tad wan, with a six-string standing in for the synths and bludgeoning rhythms. But Bieber gives the songs his best, and his raspy, soulful vocal tone stands out nicely against the stark musical backdrop. There's a bit of an agenda here, of course. Like all teen-pop idols, Bieber has been relentlessly attacked as "inauthentic" – whatever that means – and this album is an answer to the critics: proof that the Bieb is, verily, a musician, whose songs work even with the highgloss production stripped away. That said, the best songs here (besides "Boyfriend") are the three new studio tracks, especially the lovely neosoul ballad "I Would," which has something like a full-fledged studio arrangement: drum machine, vocal overdubs and, somewhere under it all, yep, an acoustic guitar.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »