Hello! Welcome to this video-cast review of Justin Bieber’s visual album PURPOSE: The Movement which came out over the course of November 14.
The thirteen videos, one for each song on the album, were each directed by Parris Goebel, a young choreographer, teacher, and studio owner from New Zealand. Filmed and edited by Jose Omar Hernandez, a dancer/choreographer-turned videographer, these videos both challenge and index existing screendance (filmed dance) and popular dance conventions. Join me and fellow popular dance scholar Elena Benthaus (in from Melbourne on Skype) as we discuss how this album fits in to the history of dance on the popular screen, music video, and what’s happening on YouTube right now.
You can view the music video, and then play our response! I’ve included notes about what larger themes emerged so you can focus on what you’re interested in, and a link to a separate post with links to intertexts and references that came up in conversation. Let us know in the comments below what you think about the album, this review, or anything else. Thanks for tuning in to this experiment!
Getting Things Started
We talk about: who we are and how we’re approaching the review. Plus–what is a visual album? What do we think of this one? How does it compare with others?
“Mark My Words”
We also talk about: The dessert in music video, doing biographical readings, framing the project, the glorious Parris Goebel.
“I’ll Show You”
Dancers: Denzel Chisholm, Gusto Clarke, Ryan Davis, Noel Frias, Kendrick Martinez, Jose Ramos, CJ Salvador, Lance Savali, Tony Tzar, and Hollywood
We also talk about: space and place in YouTube dance video, interaction of choreography and lyrics, and why these videos might be so short.
“What Do You Mean”
Choreographer: Parris Goebel
Dancers: Bianca Ikinofo, Kaelani Edwards, Madison Golightly, Shyvon Campbell, Leilani De Marco, Kyra Aoake, Althea Strydom, Kaea Pearce, Maddison Barnett, Jess Toatoa, Ruth Pearce, Samyah Powell, Kirsten Dodgen, Corbyn Taulealea-Huch, Ling Zhang, Weijun Sun, Keanu Feleti, Todd Williamson, Joseph Metuakore, Elvis Lopeti, Justyce Petelo-Neho, Michael Metuakore, Fetu Taku, Esra Pula, and Andrew Cesan
We also talk about: The amazing dancers of Request Crew and the Royal Family, the history of Waacking, the resurgence of House music and dance in mainstream culture, and how “What Do You Mean” connects to “Sorry.”
Choreographer: Parris Goebel
Dancers: The Ladies of ReQuest & The Royal Family Dance Crews from The Palace Dance Studio, NZ
We also talk about: What makes Goebel’s ‘PolySwag’ style so swag, the album’s homosocial spaces, the male gaze (or not), affective response to contagious performativity, and “Sorry” as a hybrid ‘music video’ and ‘YouTube dance video.’
Choreographers and Dancers: Keone and Mari Madrid
We also talk about: Keone and Mariel Madrid’s work, site-specific choreography, narrative in music video, and the absence/displacement of Bieber’s body in the visual album.
Choreographers: Parris Goebel and Lyle Beniga
Dancers: Lyle Beniga, Parris Goebel, Kaili Bright, Melany Centeno, Lilly Leithner, Diana Matos, Cat Rendic, Taja Riley, Tia Rivera, Tee Tee, Marquita Washington, Laure Courteller, Natalie, Paris Jackson, Miesha Moore, Tiara, Kelly, Selasi Dogbaeje, Conny Azua, and Rebbi Rosie
We also talk about: YAKfilms and freestyle street videos, is this the most ‘traditional’ music video in the album?, this album’s “YouTube-ness,” and young people thriving creatively on YouTube.
Choreographers: Parris Goebel and Ian Eastwood
Dancers: Ian Eastwood, Megan Batoon, and Melany Centeno, Big Sean
Dancers: Parris Goebel, Bianca Ikinofo, Shyvon Campbell, Leilani De Marco, Kyra Aoake, Althea Strydom, Kaea Pearce, Jess Toatoa, Kirsten Dodgen, Corbyn Taulealea-Huch, Althea Strydom, and Oriana Whaiapu
Choreographers: Parris Goebel, Pierce Cady, Janelle Ginestra, Valentine Norton, James “BDash” Derrick, Keywane Pandy, Marquis Robinson, and Brandon “Beno” Anastascio
Appearance By: Halsey
Dancers: Pierce Cady, Janelle Ginestra, Valentine Norton, James “BDash” Derrick, Keywane Pandy, Marquis Robinson, and Brandon “Beno” Anastascio
We also talk about: The ubiquity of denim on denim, the aesthetic of camera mobility, krumping in film, connection between dance genre and narrative content.
“Life is Worth Living”
Choreographers and Dancers: Emma Portner and Patrick Cook
We also talk about: What contemporary dance looks like right now, Emma Portner’s choreographic work, and the therapeutic and healing power of dance.
“Where Are Ü Now”
Choreographers: Parris Goebel, Nick Demoura and Lady Cultura
Appearances By: Diplo & Skrillex
Dancers: The Ruggeds -Tawfiq Amrani, Jessy Kemper, Roy Overdyle, Sjoerd Poldermans, Lady Cultura, Johnny Erasme, Johnathan Rabon, Yusuke Nakai, Mykell Wilson, Devan Smith, Mona Berntsen, Christina Chandler, and Elysandra Quinones
We also talk about: ‘Amateur’ video aesthetics and the highly mobile Internet camera, B-boying.
Choreographers: Parris Goebel and Kyra Aoake
Dancers: Giverny Hing, Maddison Barnett, Ruth Pearce, Samyah Powell, Sarah Whyte, Houston Murray, Ellise Samuels, Ally Mayerhofler, Siyanna Yarr, Drew Sackfield, Cullen Neale, Isla Potini, Alexandra Page, Frannie Aquino, Azaria Ieriko, Biranna Dixon, Aria Henry, Teesha Siale, Courtney McKay, Isabella Thomas-Edwards, Taimania Pupuke,Sophie De Renzy, Anaya Wakelin, Faolan Okan, MJ Neethling, Jovi Ngo, Henk Tomkins, Irava Upu, Ben Rawnsley, Remy Sutton, Matthew Pule’anga, William Tuarae, Donnell Collins, Brookyln Collins, Ayla Ngaluafe, Quincy Ngaluafe, and Dasha Collins
We also talk about: Possible Hunger Games tie-in, young dancers on YouTube, and Bieber’s YouTube beginnings as motivation for this project’s cast and crew.
Choreographer: Parris Goebel
We also talk about: “Commercial Lyrical Contemporary dance,” how this epilogue frames the visual album, the affect of hope, and the album’s take on sociality.
Wrapping Things Up
We talk about: Parris Goebel as a director, what it means to “make it” in the current entertainment landscape, and concluding thoughts on celebrity and affect in the age of social media.