In 2020, we may finally be in the comfortable position to stop being surprised that some of the biggest musicians in the world are from Canada. Both Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes have continually repped for Canada throughout their careers, whether they were extolling the virtues of their home country or working with fellow Canadian pop stars like Drake and Alessia Cara. Bieber even recently cast Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay to play a younger version of himself for his deeply personal “Lonely
” video.What is surprising that it has taken the two men who grew up only hours from each other so long to finally collaborate on track. Releasing the highly anticipated “Monster” on Friday, Bieber and Mendes’ undeniable abilities as songwriters and showmen shine through on every note. For fans of the superstars, “Monster” was worth the wait.The new song features two of the most famous musicians in the world airing their grievances about fame and all its trappings, but the lyrical content is still broad enough that fans can relate to the message in their own struggles for perfection. Questioning who’s to blame when the media places celebrities on a pedestal only to celebrate when they inevitably fall, “Monster” acts as a reminder that to err is human. Shrugging off a traditional format and instead opting to split the song in half, Mendes opens “Monster,” which features a dark and sexy vibe. Keeping his verse somewhat vague, Bieber then takes the second half of the song and gets specific, recalling what it felt like to be 15 and be judged by adults who could never understand is unique situation.Mendes and Bieber star together in the darkly lit music video, which appears to be filmed in a single take. Directed by Colin Tilley, “Monster” takes inspiration from its name by setting the scene in a foggy park where the two singers make their way up the stairs of an art installation and perform on top of a platform. Repeating the line “What if I trip,” both Bieber and Mendes flirt with the edge of the stage throughout their intense, metaphor-heavy performance, always managing to stay on top even in moments where it looks as though they may fall.
The track was a Canadian affair, with Mendes and Bieber working with Frank Dukes, Mustafa and Daniel Caesar to craft the beautifully dark track. “Monster” acts as a sort of continuation of Bieber’s single “Lonely,” with the Stratford native going into detail about his career highs and lows and the unrealistic pressure placed on a teenager who seemingly overnight goes from an unstable and low income home life to suddenly having millions of dollars and the adoration the fans around the world.Mendes and Bieber appeared together in a YouTube Live ahead of the video’s premiere and confirmed that they will perform “Monster” together during Sunday’s American Music Awards. Bieber also took the livestream as a chance to clear the air on his famous “Who is Shawn Mendes?
” line, which he says was earnest and not a shot at the teen singer. In a sweet exchange between the friends, Mendes reiterates that he’s still not convinced.
Speaking with Zane Lowe this week
, Mendes revealed that “Monster” has been in the works for years, but it wasn’t until recently when he started his friendship with Bieber that it felt like the right time to release the single. “I just started my relationship with Justin. It just started forming properly in the last three months. And I called him and I was like, ‘Look, I have this song. It's kind of going there.’ We go there. It's about how society can put celebrities up on a pedestal and watch them fall and it seems to be this entertainment thing. And it's hard. And his heart fell deep into it,” said Mendes.“And him and I, even yesterday, were on the phone for an hour and had the deepest conversation, I think, about so much. And it just felt really nice because it was a full circle moment for me, this guy who was the reason I started singing. I was nine when ‘One Time’ came out, and I completely was all in. He was Elvis to me. And to come back around and to have this very human to human conversation with him and his truth to come into that song and my truth to be there, it feels like one of the most special songs I've ever wrote. And the more I listened to it and the deeper I get into it, this is not just about celebrities. This is the human experience.”“Monster” will appear on Mendes’ upcoming fourth studio album Wonder
, which is set to be released on December 4.[video_embed id='2078777']BEFORE YOU GO: Quebec considers small holiday gatherings[/video_embed]