Last time we heard about Selena Gomez, she was in a highly-publicized relationship/breakup with Justin Bieber, and starred in Spring Breakers. She also released a new single, ‘Come And Get It’, which I wasn’t particularly fond of.
That was in April 2013.
Since then, the former Disney star-turned-recording artist-turned-actress has released a new album (which has reached #1 on the iTunes Top Albums chart), celebrated her 21st birthday, and is going on tour next month. And so far, her new album hasn’t been a disappointment.
Like usual, I’ll provide a track-by-track review of summer 2013’s hottest new album, as well as include a link to the iTunes page (just one of the places you can buy ‘Stars Dance‘).
1. Birthday – “Tell ’em that it’s my birthday/When I party like that,” Selena sings on “Stars Dance’s” club-ready opening track, named and sequenced to coincide with her 21st birthday on July 22, the eve of the album’s release. 2 words: Top 40. This song sounds over-produced, repetitive, and sounds like the kind of music that plays on top 40 radio stations these days. And it’s not my favorite. In fact, the only thing I liked about the song was the rallying cry of “party on, baby!”. 1/5 stars.
2. Slow Down – This one sounds Top-40ish, but it’s different. When this song was first released, I didn’t like it (yes, I know I’m extremely weird. I liked the Jonas Brothers’ new song but not this one), but it has grown on me over time. In other words… I LOVE IT!!!!!! Selena has changed her style of music quite a bit since the Disney days, but still, the lyrics in this song aren’t too risque for the Disney audience (although I’m fully aware she’s officially not a Disney star anymore), and I like that. 5/5 stars.
3. Stars Dance – With a mid-tempo beat that’s similar to Come And Get It, the title track channels the dreamy dubstep of Skrillex (who produced/recorded the soundtrack for ‘Spring Breakers’), but also features Gomez’ distinctive vocals. Stars Dance is definitely one of my favourites. 4/5 stars.
4. Like A Champion – I’m starting to think Selena was channeling Rihanna in this song. It’s a reggae-lite confection that ultimately falls victim to too many references to the Barbadian pop princess — right down to the lyric “shine like diamonds in the sky.” (Sound familiar?) Though this song does suit Selena well, and although it’s really catchy, I don’t think it does much for establishing her own musical identity. But it’s a good song, nonetheless. 4/5 stars.
5. Come And Get It – Fun fact: This song was originally written for Rihanna, and is the biggest hit song of Selena’s career. Some may say it’s not as good as 2011’s “Love You Like A Love Song”, but I digress. 5/5 stars.
6. Forget Forever – Hmm, I never knew this track was written about Bieber. The first track to address that, “Forget Forever” finds Gomez mourning the loss and pointing fingers. “Our love was made to rule the world / you came and broke the perfect girl…you left me wanting what we were” she sings on the chorus as squiggly beats and Electric piano flourishes pile upon each other. Unlike “Slow Down” and “Come And Get It”, I liked this song from the beginning. 5/5 stars.
7. Save The Day – So, I guess Jennifer Lopez wanted to record this for her album, but failed to get it from Gomez. Though she doesn’t pitch in on writing the song here, there’s still a few small references to the Biebs sprinkled throughout (“Just tell me it’s not over / and we’ll never reach the end.”). 5/5 stars.
8. B.E.A.T. – This song, isn’t very good. It’s one of the few on this album I DON’T like. There’s not much to say about “B.E.A.T.”. Just listen to the 30-second preview on iTunes, and you may potentially agree (or disagree, which is alright). 1/5 stars.
9. Write Your Name – Compared to the previous track, “Write Your Name” is a good song. It sounds like a plain pop song at the beginning, but soon transfers into electronic-dance music. It contains a rap verse by Gomez (which isn’t new; remember her previous songs “Spotlight” and… oh wait, there aren’t anymore songs that have rap verses), as well as elements of dubstep. 4/5 stars.
10. Undercover – After a while, “Stars Dance” begins to sound like an exceptionally produced Disney workout playlist. “Undercover” supports this theory, but could perform as a standalone single just as well. The song is that good. 4/5 stars.
11. Love Will Remember – One of the most personal songs on “Stars Dance,” “Love Will Remember” finds Gomez retracing the steps of what went wrong with Bieber. “The trips we dreamed of taking / The tacks left on the map / What happened to that?” she sings sadly over an otherwise-thumping pop beat, later adding, “I used to think that I was irreplaceable / We lit the whole world up / Before we blew it up / I still don’t know just how we screwed it up.” Though it ends an otherwise upbeat collection on a bittersweet note, it’s a good song, and may provide some comfort to the millions of fans still mourning the loss of “Jelena” themselves. 5/5 stars.
12. Nobody Does it Like You (Bonus Track) – But wait, there’s more! Turns out, there are two extra bonus tracks on iTunes, “Nobody Does It Like You” being one of them. I don’t know why this song wasn’t on the regular edition of “Stars Dance”. It’s just that good. 5/5 stars.
13. Music Feels Better (Bonus Track) – The last track on the iTunes edition of the album, “Music Feels Better” is a fun twirler that should have also found its way on the regular edition. I mean, a few extra tracks wouldn’t hurt, right? 4/5 stars.
So, that was my complete, track-by-track review of “Stars Dance.” Now, it’s time to hear your opinions. Do you already own “Stars Dance?” What do you like about it? What do you NOT like about it? If you don’t already own this album, are you planning on getting it soon?
If you don’t already own “Stars Dance” and are interested in buying it, you can buy it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/stars-dance/id656454307