Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Justin Bieber ft. Quavo – Intentions

Intentions count for something, but after “Yummy”?


Oliver Maier: “Yummy” has been growing on me like a rash to the extent that the sentiment about “Intentions” being better than its predecessor does not move me, and perhaps makes me a little indignant, because it isn’t. Biebs’s sentiments are just as stupid as last time but not as memorable. Quavo exists.

Kylo Nocom: A ringtone transmitted from outer space handed over to two people who aren’t quite sure what to do with it. I’m waiting for men in pop music to get past nerdy come-ons as passable lyricism.

Alfred Soto: The Bieb Saga gets interesting now that he encourages writers to come up with lines like “Stay in the kitchen, cooking up, cut your own bread/Heart full of equity, you’re an asset,” then having the audacity to use it as a refrain. A passive woman and a schemer at heart — Bieber’s beau idéal. Like many chart pop aspirants, “Intentions” settles into a fatuous complacency in its refusal to offer nothing but a shimmering hook. 

Brad Shoup: “The business-brain imagery is kind of great — the sort of audacious move Ne-Yo could’ve made if he’d been just a little bit richer. The synth ostinato burbles placidly, like your call is very important to us. Bieber as honeymooning thought leader is fertile ground, though I’m not surprised Quavo treads lightly over it. “I don’t need a witness” is his capper, the best, uh, intentional joke here. 

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: On it’s surface, this is just a slower “Nice for What” with a “God’s Plan” music video. “Intentions” and its video — where Justin Bieber and Quavo help establish a fund for homeless women and children through Alexandria House — fit so perfectly into another Justin Bieber redemption arc that I can’t help but be at least a little suspicious of him wanting to rehabilitate his image by surrounding himself with poor communities of color. But whether its a veneer or not, it at least sounds like he’s undergone genuine personal growth. Who could have imagined that following a decade of obnoxious personal drama, he would have landed here? On “Intentions,” Justin sounds humble, intimate, even shy — for once foregrounding the stories of those he’s cherishing instead of making himself the center of attention. It’s a good look. 

Tobi Tella: Pros: no one’s vagina is referred to as “yummy” in this one. And I can’t knock him from donating to underprivileged people in the music video, no matter how potentially cynical his intentions are. What I can knock him for is making a simultaneously messy and boring song where he alternates between saying that he’ll take care of this girl and that she’s strong and independent? I honestly wish this was a little more convoluted because it would at least show the presence of ideas; I have no doubts that lyrical inconsistencies and bland production is solely because he truly doesn’t care.

Katherine St Asaph: Heart full of equity, you’re an asset. You’re expensive, you know what I mean? It’s like your heart is like the sounds that are used, which are not cheap. They’re very expensive-sounding sounds. (They also make me want to listen to “With Ur Love” instead.)

Andy Hutchins: On an album that seems at times to have been constructed from just one beat pack that samples the various seasons of Animal Crossing, “Intentions” at least sounds like a warm winter day, a brighter soundscape than the irredeemable “Yummy” with an unnecessary literal soda pop to reinforce its fizziness. And good thing, that: The Beebs and Sir Quavious are thoroughly unconvincing as lovermen, dropping mostly wretched technobabble lyrics (“Heart full of equity, you’re an asset” should kill V&C dead in its crib, but then Bieber sings “You’re the brand now” and it feels like an abortion was botched), inexplicably throwing “act like you know” into a song about intentions, and trying “It’s funny we both listen” as a compliment. The instrumental would be a [6].

Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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