A month back, Justin Bieber covered fellow Canadian Drake’s woozy drug song “Trust Issues.” Bieber cleaned it up, but it was still a nutso departure from his usual innocuous balladry, and the best thing to come out of his current semi-awkward transitory period. Until now. With his take on Lil Wayne’s “How to Love,” Justin’s hip-hop covers series rolls on.
He tweeted it out last night, along with birthday greetings for the newly 29 year old Lil Wayne. (Meanwhile, Weezy was tweeting “My daughter bought me a ukulele & my girl bought me a vintage gumball machine!! 2 of the best gifts ever! Party time!!!!!” and “President of the ‘I luv Maya Rudolph’ klub.”) It’s a mostly faithful recreation, with Bieber swapping out Wayne’s computerized croak for his own developing croon, plus a vocal runs just to flex the pipes. “Love” is a safer choice than “Trust Issues”: It’s a schmaltzy love song, and Bieber never once has to substitute another word for “bitches.” (Also, Bieber’s fellow tween mainstay Demi Lovato already covered the track, which takes some of the surprise out of this version). So, sure, yeah, it’d have been great if Bieber had instead dumbed out on one of the many Wayne tracks whose lyrics include a detailed description of the listener’s murder
But let’s not downplay Bieber’s gall too much: It’s not every teen-pop sensation that’d be willing to try to pull off big-boy lyrics like “It’s hard not to stare the way you moving your body” or “I admire your poppin’ bottles.” He’s dipping toes in the deep end here. The next big project for Biebs is a Christmas album that will probably outsell the Bible. After that, presumably, will be his next proper studio album, which will quite possibly be his “adult” debut. But for now, let’s all enjoy this awkward transition period as much as possible. They grow up so fast.