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The Critics Corner: Albums
My Worlds Acoustic
Justin Bieber | My Worlds Acoustic
Teenage pop superstar breathes new life in stripped-down acoustic effort
Name: "My Worlds Acoustic"
Released: Amazon (Int'l), Wal-Mart (US exclusive)

Label: Island Def Jam
Release Date: November 26, 2010
My rating: 4.8 out of 5

Review written by: Lindzey Nichole
My Worlds Acoustic is the third album from sixteen-year-old superstar Justin Bieber. This album is a compilation of Bieber’s biggest hits and fan favorites as well as a new song titled Pray. My Worlds Acoustic is very much an album for skeptics and critics who believe that Bieber’s music is overly auto-tuned and synthesized. This stripped down album proves the contrary, it illustrates how Bieber’s vocals are the real deal, and how he is managing to work with his changing voice.

The opening track is “One Time”, Justin Bieber’s first hit off his 2009 debut album, My World. The acoustic version of One Time is slowed down, and yet condensed. In comparison to the original version of One Time, this version is stripped of the synthesized beats and instead promotes bongos and tambourines.  Bieber’s voice is noticeably lower and while he can no longer sing notes as high as before, he still powers through and delivers.

As with all of the other hits on this acoustic album, the next track “Baby” highlights Bieber’s lower voice and even his rapping skills. The original version of Baby off Bieber’s 2010 My World 2.0 album featured Ludacris, however Bieber took the reins in the new acoustic version.  Bieber wrote a new version of the rap that is more personal and relevant to his life, starting with stating, “Yeah, I’m sixteen…” and mentions tweeting, texting and iChat instead of schools and playgrounds.

Next is “One Less Lonely Girl”, which is one of the highlights of the album. The piano arrangement as well as the hand percussions works well with the overall feel of this song. One Less Lonely girl was another hit off the album My World and the progression Bieber is making with his vocals. Unfortunately, this version is not much different from the original other than the addition of the piano and drop in Bieber’s voice.    

“Down To Earth”, which follows One Less Lonely Girl, is one of the more emotional songs from Bieber’s My World album, which expresses his feelings on his childhood without having his father around. This song has a powerful and meaningful message and an acoustic version really suits it well. This song when performed in concert starts out with just Bieber on piano, who is later joined by his band. This version of Down To Earth surpasses the original version based on its overall sound.

The next song is the most recent radio single released from Bieber’s My World 2.0 album, titled “U Smile”. Bieber has stated that this is a song written for and dedicated to his fans. The only noticeable difference, other than Bieber’s lower voice, is the difference in background music. It’s slightly disappointing that this song is so similar to the original, however the original really did not need any fixing to begin with.

“Stuck In The Moment” is one of the more obscure tracks on My World 2.0, it has not been a single, and it is one of the only songs not performed on the My World 2.0 tour. The acoustic version of this song is just as impressive as the original. While it seems as though this song could have been cut from the tour because the majority of the song is spent in a very high octave, Bieber proved in this version that he can still indeed reach great heights with his vocals.

“Favorite Girl [Live]”defines this album, it is a live track recorded recently at one of Bieber’s shows. During this point in the show, Bieber is strapped into a large metal heart that soars above the crowd. The vocals are raw and real and exemplifies how naturally talented he is, which was the reason he said he made this album. Bieber also shouts out his guitarist/musical director, Dan Kanter, who also led a producing hand in the acoustic songs.

One of the only songs Bieber has changed the lyrics on is “That Should Be Me”, and it actually changed the whole story line for the song. In the original version, this song was about a boy who lost his girl and states “that should be me” and that he “never shoulda let you go” but in this version, it became “never gonna let you go”.  It is not uncommon for artists to go back and change lyrics around, so by Bieber changing that lyric, it left the song off on a more uplifting note.

One newer song, “Never Say Never”, which features Jaden Smith, was not on either of the “My World” albums, but rather the Soundtrack for The Karate Kid and it lends its name to the upcoming Justin Bieber 3D movie, in theaters February 11. This song is a motivational anthem of sorts that encourages people to persevere and never give up. Bieber has shown in his life that nothing is impossible, a boy from a small town singing on street corners one day, then a few years later being the youngest recipient of the American Music Award for artist of the year.  He puts this message in his lyrics and spreads it to his fans, anything is possible, never say never.

The most anticipated off this album is “Pray”, the only new song on the album. Written in Early October, this song is an inspirational and carries a deeper meaning than any of Bieber’s other songs. He has stated that there are many love songs out there, and that sets this song apart. This song calls for change in the world, and Bieber takes to his faith to find his way to help make a change.

Overall, this album proved that Justin Bieber is a talented musician who does not need all of the production and editing that goes into recording an album. He can easily strip his music of synthesized beats and rhythms, grab an acoustic guitar, some bongos and a microphone and record an album. This album was very impressive and while the majority of the tracks were on his other two albums, he managed to, for the most part, change them up and give them new life. This album reassures music lovers that there is more to music than auto-tune and editing.
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