Music Review: Justin Bieber’s comeback narrative has a few plot holes

Pop music loves a good comeback narrative, especially if these stories involve an underdog overcoming adversity or a bad boy changing his spots. Perhaps that’s why the party line about Justin Bieber’s fourth studio album, Purpose, is that it’s all about rebirth: At the moment, the pop star needs to be perceived as likable, since his well-publicized instances of bad behavior—among them, throwing eggs at a house and getting a DUI—and the subpar response to 2013’s Journals have damaged his reputation.

On Purpose, Bieber succeeds at conveying sincere reflection and remorse on the breezy, island vacation-vibing “Sorry” and the nearly a cappella “Mark My Words.” The problem is, this transformation into a contrite good guy isn’t always so convincing. His casual, respectful vibe on the languid R&B jam “No Pressure” is undermined by Big Sean’s guest verse, during which the rapper calls …

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