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Justin Bieber’s Iconic Evolution

Cover Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen


Grab your purple zip-up hoodie and join me for a journey through the past of one of our most beloved musical icons. Few songs have opening bars as instantly recognizable and immediately mood-lifting as “Baby,” and “Never Say Never” has proved itself a timeless ode to the strength of the human spirit. In terms of versatility, Justin Bieber scores pretty high. He’s grown up before our very eyes, taking us along for the ride from pre-pubescence to loving marriage. With almost too many phases to keep straight, let’s take a look and determine Justin Bieber’s glory days. 

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1. “My World”/”My World 2.0” Justin (2009-2010)

I can still remember the first time I heard this sweet, sweet angelic voice. Between these two projects, this period of Bieber’s life is practically overflowing with hits — “One Less Lonely Girl,” “Somebody to Love,” “Eenie Meenie.” In addition to the countless bops he bestowed upon us, he also gave us a cultural reset. Much like “The Rachel” haircut became a major staple of the 1990s, the “Bieber” style skyrocketed to popularity and public acclaim. 

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2. “Under the Mistletoe” Justin (2011)

I’m going to be real with you. Nothing tops this for me. I’m always down for a good Nat King Cole holiday classic, but our boy Justin really knows how to get that wintertime cheer coursing through my veins. Let’s not forget about this album’s iconic collabs — Boyz II Men, Usher, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, and more. 

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3. “Believe” Justin (2012-2014)

This period marks the heyday of JB’s bad boy phase. It was during this iconic era that Bieber gave us absolute dance floor heroes like “Beauty and A Beat” (with Nicki Minaj) and “All Around the World” (with Ludacris). Again, Justin hit us with some serious collaborations on this one — Drake and Big Sean, too. However, he also left behind a whole slew of run-ins with law enforcement and the media, causing him to fall out of favor with many of his Beliebers.

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4. “Purpose” Justin (2015-2017)

In this phase, we see Bieber rekindle his relationship with religion, marking a return to his more grounded, less wily roots. In the eponymous song, we see contemplative mentions of “last steps,” “inner peace,” and even a heartfelt monologue that rounds out the track. While I’m not quite sure if JB has ever really been tame, this is certainly one of his more mellow epochs. 

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5. Newlywed Justin (2018-2020)

Justin Bieber proposed to (then) Hailey Baldwin in July 2018, and they got married at a courthouse in New York City that fall. The two have actually known each other for over a decade by now, having initially met back in 2009. In November of 2019, Justin even dyed his hair pink, a far cry from the sweeping brunette bangs of his early stardom. In 2020, Justin dropped the album “Changes,” which is chock full of hits like “Intentions” (with Quavo) and “Yummy.” 

Do you have a favorite Justin phase? Let us know in the poll below!

Cover Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen

  • What’s your favorite era of Justin Bieber?

    • “My World”/”My World 2.0”
    • “Under the Mistletoe”
    • “Believe”
    • “Purpose”
    • Newlywed


Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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