back to top
Music

How Many Songs On Justin Bieber's Album Are About Selena Gomez?

A track-by-track #Jelena investigation.

Posted on

Thanks to an unexpected EDM makeover, teen pop's most noxious bad boy is back and he sounds better than ever. While his long-awaited fourth album, Purpose, doesn't quite reach the euphoric heights of his pre-release singles, it's a sure-footed release that suggests the Biebs might just make the transition to adult stardom after all. A remarkable feat considering, well, everything that has happened in the three years since his last album, Believe.

Advertisement

While Bieber is clearly trying to transcend his tabloid persona on Purpose, he's only marginally successful — you'll probably forget about that time he pissed in a mop bucket, but you definitely won't forget about his relationship with Selena Gomez.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

In fact, you'll probably be more interested in #Jelena by the end of the album's standard edition.

The singer will only admit that three songs on Purpose are about his on-again, off-again relationship with Gomez, but that number seems ~suspiciously low~ for an album filled with reconciliation pleas and songs about love gone awry.

1. "Mark My Words"

The album opener is the first of many apologies. The fluttery, R&B-inflected track finds the singer begging a long-suffering ex to reconcile. "So you heard it all before," he acknowledges in the first verse before declaring, "I won't let me lose you / and I won't let us just fade away." It's so obviously about Bieber's relationship with Gomez that even he had to admit as much during a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

Advertisement

2. "I'll Show You"

This EDM ballad is clearly about the perils of fame, not the ups and downs of a relationship. "Don't forget that I'm human, don't forget that I'm real," Bieber sulks in the chorus. "Act like you know me, but you never will." Take that, haters!

3. "What Do You Mean?"

While Bieber denied involvement with the #Jelena Easter egg in the "What Do You Mean?" lyrics, the pop star did confess to Ellen DeGeneres that the song had its roots in his relationship with Gomez.

Advertisement

4. "Sorry"

Initially, Bieber explained this tropical-house apology as "a kind of the stamp in the end of the apologies that I'm giving to people, to the media." That didn't stop speculation that the song was actually intended for Gomez, specifically. Ultimately, he conceded that's at least "a little bit" true during an appearance on The Ellen Show.

Advertisement

5. "Love Yourself"

On the one hand, Gomez has "love yourself first" tattooed in Arabic on her back. Additionally, the acoustic, guitar-driven song was co-written by Ed Sheeran, who was also rumored to have had a short fling with Gomez. On the other hand, this song is way harsh. "My mama don't like you and she likes everyone"? Ouch! While this song is petty AF and doesn't necessarily jibe with Bieber's public declarations of love and respect for Gomez, the fact that she has a "love yourself" tattoo seems like too big a "coincidence" to ignore.

6. "Company"

This one is easy — "Company" isn't about Gomez or #Jelena. It "ain't that serious." Instead, the song is a surprisingly fun banger about hitting on a stranger at a club. Bieber is pretty slick with the girl he's chatting up, even if he didn't catch her name: "Just wanna have a conversation," he sings. "Forget about the obligations / Maybe we can stay in touch."

Advertisement

7. "No Pressure" (featuring Big Sean)

This is a tough call. A lot of the lyrics in "No Pressure" sound like they could be about #Jelena, but then, in the second verse, he tells his ex that he thought she was only "in it for the paper." Which, OK, Gomez obviously has her own money and doesn't need Bieber's. Is it a sign that the song is about a different girl? An oblique reference to the fact that the public's interest in their relationship had financial benefits? Unclear! But, given that it's one line and the singer continues to talk about wanting to reconcile with Gomez, we're gonna say this is probably a #Jelena song.

8. "No Sense" (featuring Travis Scott)

Bieber misses an ex. His life doesn't make sense without her. "It ain't the same when I'm without you," he sings. "Been around a million stars / None of them shine brighter than you"? Gomez is a star. She shines bright. Case closed.

9. "The Feeling" (featuring Halsey)

In a lot of ways, this song plays like the "he said" to the "she said" of Gomez's songs "Sober" and "Outta My Hands (Loco)." Common themes include not being sure if you're on the same page with your partner, confusing chemistry and real feeling, and just being an emotional disaster.

10. "Life Is Worth Living"

There definitely seem to be references to #Jelena in this song ("Relationship on a ski slope / Avalanche comin' down slow / Do we have enough time to salvage this love?"), but, ultimately, the song is about Bieber turning to his faith during a difficult period of his life.

11. "Where Are Ü Now" (With Skrillex and Diplo)

Five years ago, baby Biebs would occasionally play a piano ballad called "Where Are You Now" at his live shows. Back then, he told the New York Times that the song was about his dad. However, 2015's "Where Are Ü Now" doesn't share a lot in common with the original version; the only overlap is the question "Where are you now?" The final version of the song could, theoretically, still be about his dad, but the romantic overtones make it seem much more likely that the song evolved to be about an ex who did a real number on his heart — i.e., Selena Gomez.

12. "Children"

First things first, this song — which opens with Bieber asking "What about the children?" — is not about Gomez. More importantly, this song — which opens with Bieber asking "What about the children?" — is not about the legions of ridiculous commenters who implore the singer to "think of the children" every time he steps out of line. Instead, it's a blandly zippy Skrillex banger about inspiring the next generation to do...something.

13. "Purpose"

It's never been a secret that Bieber is a practicing Christian, but lately he's been especially open about his faith. This delicate piano ballad reiterates what he's said in the press: He wouldn't have gotten through the last few years if it weren't for his relationship with God.

Promoted

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss