Dark Light

Released: 2015

In the annals of Bieber’s discography, “What Do You Mean?” stands as a pop anthem ringing with the tumultuous echoes of a confusing relationship. On the surface, it’s a back-and-forth tango of indecision and miscommunication, but delve deeper and you’ll find an exploration of insecurity, commitment, and the trials of young love in the unrelenting glare of the public eye.

“When you nod your head yes / But you wanna say no / What do you mean?” Bieber bemoans, a clear-footed walk into the quagmire of mixed signals. He’s grappling with a lover’s contradictory actions, the intricate dance of uncertainty that reshapes notions of trust in a relationship. The nodding of the head and verbal “no” are emblems of the dichotomy that’s wringing out our pop prince, a tantalizing push-and-pull that’s as frustrating as it is mesmerising.

Ever been told to walk away when you’re urged to stay put? That’s what “When you don’t want me to move / But you tell me to go / What do you mean?” conveys. It’s the paradoxical plea of someone caught in the tag-of-war of a lover’s indecision, a twister spinning in the heart of pop’s finest. Note the masterful repetition of “What do you mean?” – it’s a sonic embodiment of frustration, a poignant echo bouncing off the walls of a love filled labyrinth.

The line “Said you’re running out of time, what do you mean?” hints at the ticking clock of patience, the impending doom of a relationship hanging by a thread. Running out of time for what? That’s the question broiling beneath Bieber’s smooth vocals, a plea for clarity in a fog of mixed emotions.

Again, in “You’re overprotective when I’m leaving / Tryna compromise but I can’t win / You wanna make a point, but you keep preaching”, the Biebster underscores the tug-of-war play in a love on the brink, teetering on the edge of surrender due to overprotection, a failed attempt at compromise, and the incessant need to make a point marring the picture of a harmonious romantic union.

“Wanna argue all day, making love all night”, this is pure pop revelation. The cycle of love – arguing in the brightness of day, then making up (and out) under the cover of night. It’s a cycle many a relationship can testify to, albeit not in such poignant radio-refractive lyrics.

“Be more straightforward” is an exhilarating and plaintive cry for transparency in a world awash with subtext. Bieber stabs directly at the heart of the issue, expressing the need for direct communication rather than veil-veiled intentions and vaguely hinted motivations.

In short, “What Do You Mean?” is not your typical pop froth. It’s a deep dive into the tumultuous seas of young love, filled with mixed signals, uncertainty, and the desperate desire for clarity. It’s Bieber’s anthem of asking for outright honesty, a plea coded in a relatable pop language that resonates with Generation Z’s fractured love narratives.

Related Posts