No, you’re not mistaken – he did release his most recent album just two weeks ago!
However, it seems that Justin Bieber won’t let the idea of a traditional album rollout stand in his way, as he has followed up Justice with a new EP, Freedom, released across streaming platforms on Easter Sunday.
Freedom is, throughout, a natural next step from Justice, as Justin Bieber continues to explore his faith through his music. The six-track gospel-themed release includes several high-profile collaborations, including features from producer BEAM, singer Tori Kelly, R&B star Pink Sweat$ and prominent Christian songwriter Chandler Moore – the latter appearing on three of the tracks.
The collection of songs sees Justin open up about how his faith has helped him throughout his life, with a special focus on the role of religion in helping him to cope with fame. One track, We’re In This Together, directly addresses his feelings of loneliness and confusion at the height of his popularity, as Justin says ‘I’ve had everything in life that people strive for just to ask the question ‘What are we alive for?’’ and ‘On the surface, I felt like the man but deep inside, I felt deprived just like an empty can’.
There was no supporting singles, music videos or promotional campaign surrounding the EP, which was only announced once it had already been made available on streaming platforms worldwide. It’s a sharp contrast from the release process of Justin’s previous album, which was released after a long and thorough campaign that saw the album advertised widely across social media.
The EP was revealed on Justin Bieber’s Twitter and Instagram on Easter Sunday, with an image of the cover art alongside a caption that simply read ‘Freedom on all platforms’. The cover art itself consists only of a screenshot showing the word ‘Freedom’ written within the iPhone Notes app.
Whether there will be any more supporting material from Freedom – for example, live performances, music videos, etc. – remains to be seen, though Justin is currently still promoting Justice, his follow-up to 2020’s Changes. It appears that the release was scheduled for Easter Sunday due mostly to the date’s religious significance.
However, despite the gospel theme of his two most recent releases, Justin Bieber has previously stated on his Instagram profile that he does not consider himself ‘a religious man’, stating that there has been many occurrences within the church that he personally disagrees with.
In a post made on November 25th, 2020, Justin said ‘There is no earning God’s love. Believe it and receive it! God will do the rest.’
This surprise release comes just one week after Justin surprised fans with the deluxe version of Justice, leaving it looking unlikely that Freedom’s tracks are simply unused material from the album – it appears that the EP was always intended as a standalone.
The release of Freedom means that Justin Bieber is the latest in a long line of artists to release an album with no announcement beforehand.
Ariana Grande fans were surprised when the singer released her album thank u, next less than six months after the release of her 2019 album sweetener, while Beyonce has released a total of three surprise albums – 2013’s Beyonce, 2016’s Lemonade and her 2018 collaboration with husband Jay-Z, Everything Is Love.
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