Justin Bieber steps into adulthood in his new music video for "All That Matters," and doesn't look back.
Well, to be accurate, he does look back several times in the Colin Tilley-directed smolder-fest that premiered on Monday to molten levels of anticipation among Beliebers.
Like the "All That Matters" single heard in week two of Justin's "Music Mondays" series, the video mixes low-fi details --- a Memorex recording tape, dusky lighting, the singer's James Dean white T-shirt, along with wind and projection machines --- with a thoroughly modern intention to sell the no longer squeaky clean but still vulnerable Biebs to millions, and more butt action than we ever saw in "Giant."
But, for all the GIFs flying around online and the softcore teaser that dropped last week, the video is tastefully sexy with well-timed risqué moments as the heat progressively builds.
At precisely one minute in, we cut from an all in black Bieber singing an earnest verse while Cailin Russo preens prettily, to a close-up of the pair smooching on a motorcycle.
As "All That Matters'" bridge kicks in, the 19-year-old caresses a hot-pants wearing Russo. Things get more explicit in the chorus when the blonde model strikes suggestive poses as Justin 'Kings' it in a chair.
From here on in, the temperature rises.
Edits of Bieber and Russo touching lips in red silhouette, a shirtless Justin pelvic thrusting as if his life depended on it, sultry stares to camera, Russo's sexy slow plié as he watches, that rear-end shot on the motorcycle; all climaxes in a lingering make-out over dream-like sonics.
In short, the video delivers.
It's artistic, hot, visually compelling, and matches the relaxed but hypnotic pull of "All That Matters" (the song) almost note for note, which is no small feat.
It also graduates Bieber to an adult image that was missing in videos for his Believe album tracks, "As Long As You Love Me," "Boyfriend," and "Beauty and A Beat."
For the last two months, the Canadian's roll out of "Music Mondays" songs has signaled his arrival as a mature artist who has found the musical compass he wants to follow.
While Australia's Herald Sun and a Gold Coast Mayor are just the latest to work themselves into a frenzy over Bieber while he tours Down Under, it's possible less "acting out" will occur in a future where he gets to make music that actually reflects who he is. The tweens may fall away, but perhaps it's time they did.
Certainly, news that Justin is releasing a collaboration with Chance The Rapper as his next "Music Mondays" single and wrapping the series with Chance, Diplo, R. Kelly and Big Sean, indicates he has outgrown the strict molding experienced by most child stars and intends to explore.
Often compared to Leif Garrett --- a former teen idol in the late 1970s whose career crashed amid drugs, lawsuits and criminal charges --- in August Garrett told Fox News the primary reason for his downward spiral was the stifling of his creativity.
"I [was] really into music and a new wave was happening," Garrett recalled. "The average lifespan of a teen idol is five years. You have to change musically. Bubble gum pop was good for the first time you have sex."
"They didn't want to give the OK on some really good music. It was the frustration of being signed to that label. I was depressed. My heroes and A&R guys on the [tour] bus were doing drugs so I was doing drugs," he added.
Seen in this light, Bieber's year spent shrugging off a sanitized straitjacket --- albeit with collateral damage --- may just turn out to be the difference between his and Leif's fate.
Bottom line? Bieber has the talent to soar in this next era as an R&B force to be reckoned with, if he focuses on the music and he --- and his team --- can navigate the current media agenda with more skill than they have to date.
"His struggle will determine his success. I ain't worried about him," R. Kelly recently told E! News.
Kelly may be right. We hope so. Bieber's struggle may seem unsympathetic, but that doesn't make his over-scrutinized, criticized, young life any less a struggle.
Watch the video for "All That Matters" and let us know what you think in comments below.
[Images via VEVO]