Justin Bieber had a busy 2020 and he’s already hit the ground running in 2021. His Changes album picked up three Grammy nominations, he hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Ariana Grande-assisted “Stuck With U,” and he released a number of standalone singles including the Chance the Rapper-featuring “Holy,” the Shawn Mendes duet “Monster,” and “Lonely.” Once the ball dropped and 2021 began, Justin dropped his latest single and its accompanying music video — “Anyone.”
Produced by Andrew Watt (“Midnight Sky”; “Break My Heart”), Jon Bellion (“Daisies”; “Fall In Line”), and The Monsterz & Strangerz (“Hurts 2 B Human”; “Slow Hands”), “Anyone” is a passable song. Simply put, Justin fails to make this feel like his own. He was able to accomplish this on his slew of post-Changes singles, but the influences that inform “Anyone” tower over him and his voice. Over an instrumental that grows increasingly layered, Justin sings of his undying and singular love for his wife. As the writers have so boringly put it: “Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone.” The lyrics are your typical love-centric Top 40 fare, but, melodically, this has Jon Bellion written all over it. You don’t have to think too hard to imagine him singing this song. The quiet-verse-anthemic-chorus formula of “Anyone” is reminiscent of The Weeknd’s “Scared to Live” from his After Hours album, but at least The Weeknd’s track has production that actively works to keep your attention. Andrew Watt’s guitars start stealing the show around the bridge which feels straight out of Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts playbook. This comes as no surprise since Watt was a primary producer on the Plastic Hearts album.
The issue with “Anyone” is that you don’t hear Justin Bieber. You hear hints of Jon Bellion, hints of The Weeknd circa After Hours, hints of Miley Cyrus circa Plastic Hearts, but you don’t really hear Bieber. The production on “Anyone” is far too sparse (in the first half) to play against Bieber’s voice. On “Lonely,” Bieber was able to employ an ever-so-slight quiver and a yodel to evoke some semblance of color and vulnerability, but his voice feels markedly empty on “Anyone.” Everything about this song is just there. “Anyone” would have probably made a nice album track, but as a single, it is underwhelming. From the drab melody to the tired songwriting, this is weak; Justin has delivered far better songs than this before.