By Sydney Bucksbaum
October 16, 2020 at 12:05 AM EDT
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Credit: Sacks & Co

Justin Bieber is getting real about his past as a tween pop star in the new song "Lonely."

The just-released track, produced by Benny Blanco, takes a raw, unflinching look at Bieber's early career — and his struggles along the way. The emotional ballad doesn't hold back, with lyrics like: "What if you had it all, but nobody to call? Maybe then you'd know me. 'Cause I've had everything but no one's listening, and that's just f---ing lonely. I'm so lonely."

He even references his very public low points, at one point singing, "Everybody knows my past now, like my house was always made of glass. Maybe that's the price you pay for the money and fame at an early age. And everybody saw me sick, and it felt like no one gave a s---. They criticized the things I did as an idiot kid."

With a minimalist arrangement, Bieber's vocals give the powerful song a confessional quality. And if the message in the lyrics wasn't clear enough, the music video stars Jacob Tremblay as a young "Baby"-era Bieber, walking around backstage all alone. He ends up on stage facing an empty theater, with only the real Bieber in a seat watching him, looking back on and judging his own past.

Bieber is also set to perform "Lonely" on Saturday Night Live this week. Watch the music video above.

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