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In an unforeseen collaboration, Justin Bieber teamed up with Daniel Caesar and Giveon on the single “Peaches.” This star-studded track is dominated by Bieber, however, and as a result, the song falls flat.
The melody is a soothing blend of jazzy keyboard chords and low bass notes. That mellow vibe carries over into the soulful lyrics of Caesar’s verse, where the singer serenades listeners with extended high notes singing, “Hate to leave her, call it torture / Remember when I couldn’t hold her.” The beat relaxes to accommodate Caesar’s melancholy lyrics: “Days we save as souvenirs / There's no time, I wanna make more time,” giving focus to the soulful quality of the R&B singer. Similarly, that modulation occurs in the transition into Giveon’s verse, also highlighting the smooth timbre of his voice with the backing vocals. Giveon sings, “The one I need is right in my arms,” aiding the transition from upbeat flow into the hook with the addition of soulful ad libs that riff in the background.
In short, Caesar and Giveon’s verses work to enhance the overall sound and match the mellow vibe of the romantic lyrics. Conversely, “Peaches” suffers from Bieber’s contribution, and the song would have been better off without him.
The lyrics of Bieber’s opening verse, “I want to wrap my arms around you, baby / Never let you go,” blend perfectly with the sorrowful lyrics to come from the features. However, Bieber’s repetitive chorus is riddled with very shallow and surface level sentiments that contradict that deeper sentiment. “I get my weed from California” and the supporting ad lib, “That’s that shit,” do nothing to compliment the romantic lyrics, and seem misplaced in a song about love and loss.
Likewise, the chorus speeds up the tempo and takes the song away from the vocals of the two features. When Giveon holds his last note, for example, Bieber interferes with that flow and tunes him out, bringing the song out of its more complex harmonies and back into the reworked chorus. The chorus is not just disruptive to the features, it is also pervasive throughout the song, accounting for more than one third of the song’s total duration. As a result, the song ends up sounding very repetitive and formulaic, falling on the short end of mediocre.
Similarly underwhelming is Bieber’s failed attempt at curing social inequality with a couple of nationalistic lyrics.
Bieber released “Peaches” in anticipation of his sixth album, “Justice,” released March 19. Bieber stated that the album’s goal is to provide “healing — and justice — for humanity.” That message is lost in translation, however, since the song takes more of a summery-vibe approach rather than a political reformation one. Bieber’s attempts at alluding to icons like Martin Luther King by saying that he buys peaches in Georgia is more disrespectful than legitimate — especially considering that the simple cookie cutter formula of the insistent chorus was practically formulated to be an industry money grab.
In a series of repetitive choruses and out of context lines, Bieber ends up as the third wheel on his own song. Despite his ambitious goals for a torrent of change, the only positive impact the Canadian superstar can hope to achieve with “Peaches” is a ripple in the mainstream.
— Staff writer Alisa S. Regassa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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