"I don't like nobody but you/ I hate everyone here," Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran echo on the bridge of their newest collaboration, "I Don't Care." The song picks up on the same sort of anti-social sentiment that Alessia Cara's 2015 smash hit, "Here," left off on, but this time in the context of a love song.
Verse after verse expresses the singers' adoration for their lover, and a desire to leave behind the unnecessary noise and commotion of a party for something more intimate. While not only "on-trend," the track's lyrics are a reflection of Bieber's more recent retreat from the musical spotlight and marriage to Hailey Bieber.
"I Don't Care" is also very evidently an entry into the 2019 summer hit race; each snare hit has a nearly undetectable fuzzy undertone that, upon each kick, blurs into whooshing vocal samples that border the entire song. The rhythm is one that evokes a certain hip movement synonymous with a more careful sensuality, one in the same with Sheeran's other cautiously sexual number one, "Shape of You." This is no more evident than in the chorus, when both artists sing, "'Cause I don't care as long as you just hold me near/ You can take me anywhere."
The track is pure G-rated fun while still being completely open-ended an entirely contextual, indicative of a radio-readiness that should be expected of any Bieber or Sheeran record at this point. Thus, it should also come as no surprise that the song features production contributions from pop wizard Max Martin. If it's not clear yet, "I Don't Care" will surely provide Martin with another Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, adding to his list of an already impressive 22 number ones.
Despite being repetitive and a deliberate overuse of the term "baby," the duo's new song is quite possibly the best pop song to come from stadium-selling stars in recent years. Where other artists' cheap grabs and utilizations of pop's simplicities feel trite or even disingenuous, "I Don't Care" comes across more gently. Each lyric and note is for everyone to enjoy, playing off of the greatness and universalness of the genre. "I Don't Care" is for the dancer and non-dancer alike, the social and the anti-social, and of course, the listener and the singer.