A Failed Comeback

After taking a break from music, Justin’s first release in four years disappoints

In a trailer for his new documentary series “Justin Bieber: Seasons,” Justin Bieber spoke fondly of his upcoming studio album, saying, “I can never remake this album. It’s got to be perfect.” But the release of the album’s lead single “Yummy” leaves him off to a rocky start. 

“Yummy,” released on Jan. 3, is the first solo song released by Bieber in the past four years and the first released song on his fifth studio album. Although the song succeeds in being the flirtatious, upbeat pop song that is so characteristic of Bieber, its childishness and unoriginality emit a kind of staleness to it that refuses to be overlooked. 

“Yummy” appears to be an ode to Bieber’s wife, model Hailey Bieber, who he married in September 2018, with lyrics like “I’m elated that you are my lady.” But there are better ways to compliment the woman you love than to sing tenderly that she “got that yummy-yum.” 

Bieber seems to think otherwise. 

In fact, this repetition of the words “yum” and “yummy” are repeated 55 times throughout the song, and it gets old fast. Although Bieber’s charming, smooth vocals are ever-present in this song, they are overpowered by a chorus of “yummy” that by the end of the song really does sound like a made-up word. 

The worst part is that “Yummy”’s lyrics had the potential to be clever. The song’s music video features a pink-haired Bieber eating various foods at a fancy dinner party, which immediately brings  a host of food metaphors and references to mind that could gladly have taken the place of lyrics like “Light a match, get litty babe / That jet set, watch the sunset kinda, yeah, yeah.” 

If you disregard the lyrics, however— and this is much easier said than done— the beat itself is rather catchy. The chorus, too, aided by the song’s crisp bass line, is easy to dance to. 

The song’s silly, juvenile nature doesn’t let itself be taken too seriously, despite the attention it accumulated for being Bieber’s big step back into the spotlight. Still, with Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun teasing that Bieber’s hiatus made him “ready to express himself through music again,” the bleak, forgettable song that “Yummy” turned out to be can’t help but disappoint. 

“Yummy” is not great on the first listen, but it’s better on the second, and probably worse by the tenth. It’s not timeless, it’s not particularly special, and it does not give off any sense of who the artist truly is. But it’s a song that I can see a handful of “Beliebers” dancing or singing along to, and perhaps that’s all Bieber really wanted to accomplish with its release.