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My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together. Feel free to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "2U" by David Guetta ft. Justin Bieber mean?

What does "2U" by David Guetta ft. Justin Bieber mean?

"2U" Lyrics Meaning

"2U" by David Guetta and featuring Justin Bieber is certainly an interesting sound, but mostly because it seems to be a combination of two sounds. You have Justin Bieber's vocals with what sounds like an early 2010's techno beat. The smooth, steadiness of his voice combined with the wide-ranging effects of the beat and instrumentals creates a sound that seems like it's always in flux, never quite ready to settle down. That nervousness gives the song energy and makes for what could very well be another chart topper. Bieber has been doing quite well as a featured guest recently on "I'm the One" and "Despacito," and "2U" might continue the trend.

"Watch Me Speak from My Heart"

I highlight the above line because I'm not sure I trust it. Justin Bieber is a wonderful artist, and I'm always impressed by his voice and what his team is able to put together. But so much pop music is written by a team of "song specialists" who each have a particular task when it comes to making music, and the pop stars' job is usually singing the lyrics given to them. So, I wonder if something that someone else handed to Bieber can be seen as him speaking from his heart, but let's let the lyrics speak for themselves.

Verse 1

No limit in the sky
That I won't fly for ya
No amount of tears in my eyes
That I won't cry for ya
With every breath that I take
I want you to share that air with me
There's no promise that I won't keep
I'll climb a mountain, there's none too steep

In this stanza of "2U," Justin Bieber sings, "No limit in the sky / That I won't fly for ya." He's willing to go the "extra mile" for his romantic interest, and he claims that there's "[n]o amount of tears in my eyes / That I won't cry for ya." If she's sad, he'll be sad too. He promises empathy and companionship. He continues by singing that with "every breath" he takes, he wants to her "share that air with" him. He wants them to be so close emotionally and physically that they're literally breathing the same air. While this may have some sexual connotations, it mostly appears to be relationship-focused. He finishes the chorus by explaining that he'll keep all of his promises to her and that no mountain is "too steep" for him to be willing to climb it for her. 

Chorus

When it comes to you
There's no crime
Let's take both of our souls
And intertwine
When it comes to you
Don't be blind
Watch me speak from my heart
When it comes to you, comes to you

The first two lines of the chorus may seem confusing, and that's likely because Bieber doesn't finish his sentence in the second line. He claims, "When it comes to you / There's no crime." Is there no crime he wouldn't do for her? Or is he saying that she and he together can do nothing wrong because of how euphoric the relationship is? Either way, he's enjoying the relationship.

Next he asks her to "intertwine" souls with him on a spiritual and emotional level, and then he tells her to not "be blind." She needs to understand how much he loves her. He wants her to watch him "speak from my heart." He's being honest about his love for her and hopes she'll reciprocate. Earlier lines and lines in the post-chorus combine to give us the sentiment "When it comes to you / . . . / Want you to share that" by which I assume he means that he wants her to share his life and the love he has for her.

Verse 2

Cupid in a line
Arrow got your name on it
Don't miss out on a love
And regret yourself on it
Open up your mind, clear your head
Ain't gotta wake up to an empty bed
Share my life, it's yours to keep
Now that I give to you all of me

Here, Bieber claims that Cupid is coming for her and has an arrow with her "name on it." He warns her not to "miss out on a love / And regret yourself on it." If she passes up a relationship with him, he's sure she'll wish she hadn't. He asks her to "[o]pen up [her] mind" and to "clear [her] head" and tells her that doesn't "gotta wake up to an empty bed." He can fulfill her emotionally and sexually. He finishes the verse by asking her to "[s]hare my life" and tells her that it's hers "to keep / Now that I give to you all of me."

Deeper Meaning of "Perfect Places": Sincere or not sincere?

I know I raised some pretty self-damning questions earlier that most Beliebers won't take kindly to. After all, who likes their idol questions or humanized? But I think it still stands, and my concern about "2U" still stands. But it's a concern born out of having written and taught poetry myself. Bieber and Guetta have crafted a masterful pop work here, but almost by definition that means it can't come from the heart.

What does it mean for a song to come from the heart? I believe it means that you mean what you say and have emotional investment in the forming of those words. Really, listening to "2U" makes me feel like Bieber is performing the singing as his job, not for someone he loves, and having listened to the lyrics, I doubt he or David Guetta has written them for anyone that either one of them loves.

In fact, the song is so riddled with vagueness and cliches like "Don't be blind" and "every breath that I take" that the song seems to more effectively accomplish what many pop love songs attempt to accomplish: mass applicability. Pop writers will use purposefully vague lyrics in an attempt to keep their songs very neutral and thus applicable to a wider range of people. That way, I can sing it about my wife, and my neighbor can sing it about his. 

While this helps us out, I do think it's bad for the case to be made for Justin Bieber's sincerity in singing it. After all, if he really wrote it so that I could sing it about my wife, then is he really singing it about someone else?

I'd love to hear what you guys think about "2U" and my ideas in the comments! Thanks for reading and happy listening!

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