Besides his awkward Between Two Ferns interview with Zack Galifinakis, we haven’t heard much from Justin Bieber. That is, until last night when the singer released his latest track, “Heartbreaker,” a slow jam and not-so-veiled reference to ex Selena Gomez. The singer hasn’t confirmed rumors that song is about his on- and off-girlfriend, but with lyrics like: “I know it hasn’t been easy for us to talk with everyone being around / But this is personal, this is for me and you / And I want you to know that I still love you” — we’d be hard pressed to think of a better candidate.
Since last night, opinions and have been rolling in — from talk of the song’s overt 90s feel to the striking similarity between the cover art for “Heartbreaker” and Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. Here, 5 major critics’ take on “Heartbreaker”:
“It’s an atmospheric slow jam that comes complete with a ’90s style spoken-word bit in the middle.” — Kyle Anderson (Entertainment Weekly)
“Bieber seems to be taking a cue from the moody stylings of Drake, with an introspective, slow-burning R&B song that, like much of Drake’s output, sounds as though it was beamed here straight from the ’90s. The singer implores the object of his affection not to call him a ‘heartbreaker’ because his ‘heart’s breaking.’ And while it’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, it is catchy, and Bieber’s vocals sound stronger than ever before. ” — Aisha Harris (Slate)
“A simple acoustic lick and snare taps set the scene for what amounts to Bieber’s most direct stab at adult R&B to date, complete with the spoken-word breakdown that one might find on a Boyz II Men song.” — Jason Lipschutz (Billboard)
“The song’s as much Kanye-influenced in melody as it is in cover art — Old Kanye, whose sadness echoed through ‘Love Lockdown.’ That heartbroken Kanye is what New Bieber is going for…” — Lindsey Weber (Vulture)
“So, if this song is proof, he’s still not over Gomez. And, while some might find an uncanny similarity in the track’s artwork and Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak album, there’s nothing Kanye about the song — a welcome departure from the heavily hip-hop-influenced sound Bieber was approaching.” — Hayden Manders (Refinery29)
Take a listen for yourself and tell us what you think!