Unstable

Album: Justice (2021)
Charted: 64
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Songfacts®:

  • "Unstable" is an emo-pop contemplation on Justin Bieber's mental health issues and how his wife, Hailey, got him through his darkest days.

    Yeah, you loved me when I was unstable
    Never judged, never judged
    Never judged me when I was unable
    To love myself, to trust myself


    In his 2020 Seasons documentary series, Bieber confessed to having endured a mental-health crisis where he felt suicidal. Here, filled with gratitude, he pays tribute to Hailey's healing, restorative love.
  • Bieber married Hailey in the fall of 2018 and admitted to Vogue that he "was in a really, really bad place" during the first year of their marriage. As he battled forgiveness and jealousy issues and other lingering insecurities, Hailey supported him.

    "My wife was just there for me through it all," Bieber said. "So the whole message is, like, you've been there for me while I'm really unstable. So that song really resonates with where I was at. There's probably a lot of people who have been in this position. That is always the goal: to make music that's relatable and can touch people."
  • The Kid Laroi joins Bieber on the track. The Australian teenage rapper has had his own battles with depression and here he raps about how a girlfriend has been his "rock" and "security."
  • Justin Bieber and The Kid Laroi wrote the song with Aldae Long, Jimmie Gutch, Josh Gudwin, Delacey and Rami.
  • Aldae Long, Jimmie Gutch, and Josh Gudwin also supplied the eerie production. Gudwin is a frequent Bieber collaborator, having served as mixer and engineer on his Changes album. For Long and Gutch, it was their first Bieber collaboration.
  • Bieber told Radio.com's Julia he wanted to collaborate with The Kid Laroi on "Unstable" because he's a fan of how the Aussie teen incorporates his life struggles into his music. "When he sings there is a level of pain there that I think people can feel," said Bieber. "That translates to people who are also going through pain, and so it was just such an honor to have him on that song."
  • Aldae Long (Rich Brian's "Yellow," Demi Lovato and Marshmello's "OK Not To Be OK") originally came up with the song. He explained to Genius that he'd been working on "Unstable" for a year and a half, but couldn't get the pre-chorus right. He eventually took it to Max Martin's right-hand man Rami, who effortlessly helped him bridge the verse to the chorus.

    Meanwhile, Long had connected to Bieber through the pop star's engineer Josh Gudwin. The Biebs wanted to record "Unstable," but only after changing Long's lyrics to make them past tense. "He wanted to show that he got past that dark and didn't want to project being unstable again," Long explained. "He made really fine important tweaks to really cater to how he felt. It's crazy how much those details can take something over the edge, and I feel like he's a master detailer there. He's an expert at that, taking a good idea, a really solid idea, and really making it great."
  • Asked by NME about how the collaboration came about, Laroi said Bieber reached out to him one day on Instagram, telling him, "You got the sauce." The Aussie teen responded, "Yo, what's up? I'm a big fan." Bieber liked his message and two months later he DM'd him again, saying, "Hey, what's your number? I think I have the right song for us. Let me send it to you."

    He sent "Unstable" to Laroi, who wrote his verse, sent it back, and the rest is history.

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