Justin Bieber released his new studio album, Justice, back in March, and now the singer has dropped a surprise gospel album for Easter. The EP is titled Freedom, and it features six original pop-gospel songs with guests like Pink Sweats and Tori Kelly. Bieber didn't make a big spectacle of announcing the mini-album, opting to just post that the album was available to stream on "all platforms."
Bieber's fans have been loving the surprise new music, with one tweeting to him, "I just wanna take a moment to say At first I was like gospel? What? But when I listened to it and when I listened to 'Afraid to Say' I cried my eyes out and [realized] you can make absolutely anything and I'll like it cause you're just so beautifully you." The fan added, "After listening to the EP for a [second] time and I absorbed the lyrics I enjoyed it more. I love ur other music way too much but this EP means so much to you and so it does to me. I support you no matter what even if people wanna tear me apart for cause one thing I know [for] sure is that you're authentic."
The release of Freedom comes just weeks after Bieber put out his newest album, which was initially met with mixed reactions, but not for the reason you might imagine. Critics and fans alike all seem to agree that Justice is a great album, as far as the quality of the music is concerned. However, the album contains two separate portions featuring audio of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, which many felt were "tone-deaf" placement considering the songs don't appear to contain lyrical content indicative of fighting against injustice and calling for social change.
"Who in the hell let Justin Bieber walk out the studio with an album called Justice [with] two samples of MLK and every track got him having a grand ol white a— time singin bout his wife over synthesized pop beats," one person tweeted. "My blood pressure gets higher every day, on god." Someone else added, "Bieber has an interlude on his new album called 'MLK interlude' and it's a clip of [an] MLK speech and then it moves into a song.... about his love for... Hailey?"
Bieber subsequently commented on the choice to include the clips, saying "I'm not trying to make a connection between me and Martin Luther King." He added, per Billboard, "That's why I never try to talk about social injustice or I didn't want to be the one to talk about it because I just have so much more learning to do. But I have this man who was ready to die and what he believed to be true. If I'm not willing to face some sort of ridicule or judgment of people wondering my motives or whatever that is, for me, it was a no-brainer."