NEW YORK: Justin Bieber may have canceled a world tour, been banned from China and issued a recent confessional, but he still wants to be friends, if his new song is anything to go by.
He released the three-minute “Friends,” seemingly a plea for an ex-girlfriend to not cut him off completely post break-up, on Thursday to positive reviews and adulation from his dizzy fan base.
“Can we still be friends? Can we still be friends? Doesn’t have to end, and if it ends, can we be friends?” croons the Canadian pop star, whose most famous ex-girlfriend is fellow hit-maker Selena Gomez.
The track is a collaboration with producer BloodPop, and songwriters Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, the dream team behind his runaway hit “Sorry” from his spectacularly successful 2015 album Purpose.
Bieber’s personal antics might have become regular tabloid fodder, but the 23-year-old’s music career has spent the summer soaring to new heights.
His remix version of Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi’s mega hit “Despacito” has reigned number one in the US charts for 14 straight weeks and smashed a record for streams across all formats.
But Bieber abruptly canceled the remainder of his world tour in July, citing “unforeseen circumstances.”
The star has frequently faced legal trouble for incidents that include racing a car through Miami and throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house.
In July, China said Bieber was not welcome to perform in the country due to his “bad behavior,” saying he had a lot of growing up to do if he wanted to return.
In a lengthy Instagram post on August 2, Bieber admitted that he had let “insecurities” get the better of him at times.
“I let my broken relationships dictate the way I acted toward people and the way I treated them! i let bitterness, jealousy and fear run my life.!!!!” he wrote
“Me taking this time right now is me saying I want to be SUSTAINABLE.. I want my career to be sustainable, but I also want my mind heart and soul to be sustainable. So that I can be the man I want to be.”