So this time I will be reviewing the debut album from Selena Gomez by a form entry and a recap review. The Disney star has had a lot to prove since departing from the band with The Scene, which had a part to play in her past two breakthrough albums. So does this new album, which adopts the change of creating a dance-slash-exotic record, will surely get you pumped up to rock from your seat?
Stars Dance is what Selena wants you to feel, with the latter word more so. 'Dance' is largely a main component of this entire album, and you can hear it from the first two singles: Come And Get It and Slow Down. To be honest, the album never really hit that promotional vein that could really triumph it above the moderate range. When I heard Come And Get It, I knew it wasn't what Selena Gomez was capable of doing. A Year Without Rain and Naturally are full packages that rocks extremes, while Come And Get It feels like an exotic, toned-down and really subversive song that showcases nothing. When you compare the first singles of each album, Stars Dance's was probably the weakest. Not just vocally, but lyrically and the song overall feels unpolished and not even really trying to pick itself up. I'm disappointed that it could even chart in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. There were other better songs on the record that would have redeemed that spot but we will get to that soon.
On the second single, Slow Down, it's more of a synth action, club-banger that will surely get you on your feet, but really, the thing that holds itself down except for a lifeless repetitive chorus that tries either too much or too little, showcases once again Gomez's lack of invention and innovation for this album. All of it had been tried before on her albums with The Scene, and all of them are moderately acclaimed. This proves that you could have a perfect single yet the song could be a transcendence to what the album really is. In other words, the single just overshadows the weakness and the haphazard consistency of the album.
Yes, Stars Dance proves to be an inconsistent album that fans consider highly to be great. It lacks potent hits, innovation, interest nor even passion; sadly, all of that is missing on this album and this deteriorates it all the more. On the opening track, Birthday, just feels like a B-grade rendition of a Calvin Harris track (not saying he was a bad disc jockey), and just revels in Selena's sexy image of becoming a mature woman. There is nothing likable on this song, unless you count Selena's moan in parts of 'jazz it up'. Otherwise, the song feels mediocre and it's really embarrassing to say that on a Selena Gomez record. Not only that, but Like A Champion just feels like a B-grade rendition of Rihanna. Part reggae, part funk. Together with Come And Get It, either Selena is trying to make an Exotic Dance album, otherwise it's not really appealing. It's a big shift, and I'm not sure if people can take that. The trio of songs that follow of B.E.A.T., Write Your Name and Undercover are not outstanding nor even uplifting. Undercover does have a fitting dance vibe, and does show some decent lyricism, but you cannot see it as good as any other song on the radio. B.E.A.T. is empty, nothing soulful, nothing harrowing. Britney Spears does seems to be of influence to this track, but this all makes Selena Gomez's songs almost feel not so inventive and innovative. Write Your Name then tries to feel emotional, and relatable, but fails with the chorus miserably. None of these tracks are at the least memorable, and to even resort to auto-tune and uninteresting, sometimes downright very ridiculous choruses don't improve anything at all. You can claim that the falsettos were good, but if we had to count on that then the album would have nothing left.
Out of the rest, I have only three favourites left. Save The Day, Forget Forever and Love Will Remember are emotional, star-studded records that should have been placed into a different album than this album with higher quality. On the latter track, it features Selena Gomez's passionate vocals in recent tracks (I don't think there is any), and albeit slow and not getting you hip up to dance, I suppose the tracks I discussed above have already at least tried once or twice to get you up. Forget Forever is my overall favourite. It's probably one of the reasons why I loved Naturally and A Year Without Rain so much. Everything about this song works so well, yet the surrounding sounds on the album, be it experimental, proved detrimental and they did not help the album at all. Save The Day does what Birthday, Write Your Name, Undercover and Come and Get It couldn't do: put the nail in the dance coffin. It's catchy (though there are measures which the song could go to), while altogether presenting a direct approach rather than hide the song with layers of synths or low quality vocal prowess that suffers with each minute.
5/10: All in all, Stars Dance did make me wiggle my feet, but that's really all. Some standout tracks really did hit hard, while the rest fall flat quickly and hard at the same time. Not memorable nor even exciting, the album just is an inconsistent mess and shouldn't have been named a dance record with little to nothing to prove. We've known Gomez for quite a long time, and it's time to change. You are better than this, with triumphant hit singles rather than dismal, half-hearted attacks and lunges on the pop market. The overall consensus is if you are a hardcore Selena Gomez fan, you will love the album, but be sure to notice the cracks that smear along the windshield of the tracks: they are clearly visible.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.