When Justin Bieber released his hit song “One Time” in 2011, he instantly became a heartthrob, and his face was soon plastered over teen magazine covers and every 12 to 16-year-old girl’s bedroom in a matter of weeks.
With each hair flip, Beliebers fell head over heels, and openly proclaimed their love for the “Baby” singer. During JB’s “My World” phase in the early 2010s, teenage/adolescent girls would give almost anything to see him in concert and knew each song from his first album by heart.
Being a Belieber myself, I also fell victim to JB’s boyish charm and even attended his “My World” concert tour when he came to a venue near me. With his long locks and purple aesthetic, can you really blame me?
Bieber maintained his pretty-boy image through the release of his second album, “Believe,” though he underwent a distinctive change in personality. Unlike his “My World” persona, which exudes a humbler vibe, “Believe” JB is both arrogant and cocky. However, his physical appearance was still attractive and appealing to young girls, which ensured his heartthrob title would remain in place.
More recently, when “Purpose” was released in 2015, Bieber’s appearance became questionable: he had bleached hair, was covered in over 50 tattoos and was making odd and quirky wardrobe choices. That “purple aesthetic” had completely vanished.
Similarly, his music no longer had the catchy, lovey-dovey type of vibe that fans had grown accustomed to. For the first time ever, he implied that he was heartbroken (*gasp*). JB was supposedly still recovering from the tragic “Jelena” break up — weren’t we all?
Again, though, his charm held strong among Beliebers, myself included. He almost seemed like a kicked puppy, being so heartbroken over his first love, and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him. Well that, and “Purpose” is his best album yet. (Don’t @ me.)
But let me tell you, when the “No Brainer” music video premiered last month, I was at a loss for words. “Who IS that trucker-looking man with a mustache and blonde, scruffy hair?” I thought to myself. My thoughts were quickly put to rest when I heard him sing — I could recognize that high-pitched boy-voice anywhere.
That’s right, it’s the Biebs himself. I even had to do a double-take to make sure it was him. (What really convinced me were his Michael Jackson-esque dance moves.) If I’m being honest, I still don’t fully understand why JB let himself go, but I do have a few theories.
1. He’s making a point.
After claiming his “life is a movie and everyone’s watching” in “I’ll Show You,” Bieber has repeatedly challenged how the media portrays him. He KNOWS he’s always in the public eye, and (maybe) he wants people to know he doesn’t care.
Well, JB, if unkempt hair and a mustache are your way of “showing us,” you’ve made your point perfectly clear.
2. He’s going for a Post Malone look.
It’s no secret that JB and Posty are pals, as they’ve been tagged in each other’s social media posts several times and Bieber is featured in Malone’s “Deja Vu.”
In terms of appearances, Malone has a reputation for being, well, unclean. After rumors spread about a girl becoming physically ill after meeting the rapper in person, fans began to question whether he valued any form of personal hygiene. If anything, I hope JB keeps part of his “My World” vibe alive by showering, at the very least.
3. Post-engagement feels.
If you’re engaged, who are you really trying to impress? Maybe the Biebs is officially taking himself off the market after proposing to Instagram model Hailey Baldwin. (Although their wedding plans are supposedly pushed back.)
4. He really doesn’t care.
After making tabloid headlines for months on end, maybe JB just thought to himself “screw it.” If the media got ahold of your criminal record, and the whole U.S. knew about your DUI, would you really care anymore? Probably not. Bieber most likely figured his reputation has already gone to s—, so what’s an unflattering music video? I mean, his vocals do compensate for an undesirable physical appearance.
No matter your opinions on Bieber, you can’t deny his questionable (and unflattering) wardrobe and hairstyle choices in the “No Brainer” music video. Is there more to a singer than their physical appearance and charm? Of course. That being said, JB’s looks really contributed to his success, and after almost a decade of maintaining his boyish visual appeal, it appears as though the Biebs has had enough.
And honestly, I can’t really blame him. If I didn’t have a spare moment to myself, I’d probably stop caring too. (If that’s his reasoning.) As mentioned before, JB hasn’t had positive experiences with the press (just listen to his “Purpose” album), and he’s likely reached his limit at this point.
Although I must say, his sudden change in appearance made me question whether he’s already reached his full potential. Beliebers seemed to be at an all-time high when “Believe” officially debuted, and many fans claim that “Believe Bieber” is their favorite version of the Biebs. Perhaps JB had reached his prime when he released his third studio album, and is well aware of it.
Regardless of his change in appearance, Bieber’s voice is still music to my ears — literally. And while I don’t find him as attractive as I once did, that doesn’t put my “Belieber” title at risk. Who knows whether he’s reached his full potential, or why he decided to rock a mustache and shaggy hair? I definitely don’t. JB himself probably doesn’t even know. When Bieber releases his next album, we’ll probably have a better idea.