Just a little more than two weeks after the release of his sixth album Justice, Justin Bieber shocked fans over the weekend with the release of a brand new EP titled Freedom.
Dropped on Easter (April 4), the six-track gospel-infused EP sees Bieber embark on a soul-searching journey to better understand himself and his past through the lens of his religious beliefs. Each song on the EP features collaborations with multiple artists including Beam, Pink Sweat$, and Tori Kelly.
Bieber announced the surprise release on social media by sharing the album’s cover art — a screenshot of the Notes app with the title spelled out — followed by a caption that read: “freedom on all platforms.”
Freedom on all platforms https://t.co/k9a33Pb2Gu pic.twitter.com/BkAqqaKJRZ
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) April 4, 2021
Grappling with forgiveness and uncertainty amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Freedom. allows Bieber to redefine himself and restructure his future. He’s not shy when it comes to owning up to his past — on the R&B track “We’re In This Together,” he makes reference to the 2014 FBI raid of his home after he was accused of allegedly egging a neighbor’s house. He also admits that it “wasn’t easy” to “learn humility” and “accept responsibility” in his life after growing up in the spotlight as a teen.
“All that to say I’m thankful that’s not who I am,” he sings. “And I’m thankful God was with me when shit hit the fan.”
On other tracks like “Where Do I Fit In” and “All She Wrote,” Bieber searches for his place in life and finding comfort and acceptance through religion. He also explores the effects of cancel culture, expressing a brief that it stifles personal growth on the album’s final track “Afraid To Say.”
Featuring Lauren Walters, the song describes how Bieber’s underlying fear of saying the wrong thing has held him back from sharing his innermost thoughts and beliefs to prevent himself from being “criticized from every angle.” Instead, he shares that people shouldn’t judge one another because he believes God doesn’t judge his followers “even in our darkest days, even when we least deserve it.”
“Do we got the room to make mistakes? Are we judged for everything we said? I wanna grow but I’m afraid,” he reveals. “What have we done with society? When everybody’s getting canceled can’t there be room for maturity? ‘Cause writing ’em off is not the answer.”