Last December, when Spotify announced that Bieber's newest album Purpose was popular with hipsters in Williamsburg's borough of New York, I didn't feel so bad about appreciating What Do You Mean- at least his musical departure from typical candy pop sound. The lyrics don't really jive if you're a feminist, unless you're a feminist who knows the personality profiling system called the Enneagram.
Justin Bieber's an Enneagram Type Three, one of the Image Types who covers the shame of their deficiencies by being successful and competent, or at least with the appearance of being successful and competent. Threes struggle the most out of all nine types to understand their own emotional landscape, the idea of emotional authenticity being such a foreign concept, as all their energy goes into what they look like while emoting. "What should I be feeling? What emotions would [the name of someone I admire] be feeling right now?" It's said that Type Threes don't feel emotions, they "do" emotions because they can't land in themselves long enough to get a beat on what they're actually feeling. So they have a well-developped ability to read social cues to understand what they should be copying to look engaged and authentic.
Which explains why Love Yourself makes me feel like throwing up. The soothing harmonies and trumpet are nice and original, but the song contains the most twisted and barbed lyrics reserved for only the nastiest of fights between couples. Taken apart from the instrumentation and the video, imagine saying those words to someone out loud. "If you like the way you look that much, maybe you should go and love yourself." You can tell he's trying to sound like an enlightened Buddhist here, but, as is typical for a Three, one who doesn't get the spirit behind what he's saying, or have the emotional intelligence to support it.
The disconnect and the projection is really unsettling. I mean, we've all heard about serial killers who can kill someone in the most emotionally disassociated state, completely aware of all their faculties and actions. Bieber isn't a killer, but a lover who seems to be singing from an emotionally disassociated state. To potential Bieber lovers, I'd be making a wide berth around him until he can at least piece together why his childish, sarcastic, snarky, and self-pitying lyrics don't belong wrapped in the buttery fold of a soft and tender ballad. Like we're supposed to believe Bieber was so busy with his job that he graciously took a day out of his hectic schedule to turn off his phone, push his chair away from his desk, and with a big sigh, write a song about a girl who he's so over, like there is definitely nothing there anymore- PROMISE!!! And here's some enlightened advice from your ex who's somehow on this other plane of consciousness now.
This theme of someone being so in love with their image that they forgot to spend some time loving themselves is too obviously a projection to be taken seriously (unless Selena Gomez is also an image type, which could very well be), and it makes me want to put the mirror to his lyrics and say, "Justin, if you like the way you look that much, let's spend some time doing some exercises around feelings, and see what arises when you close your eyes and look to your inner landscape for emotional cues instead of taping articles of Psychology Today together to create a socially acceptable way of screaming "SCREW YOU!" What he's written makes it look like he looked up from his desk one day, turned off his phone, and asked himself, "What would it look like to heal emotionally from a rocky relationship?"