Selena Gomez, "Stars Dance" (Hollywood Records)
Selena Gomez has gone into a studio and recorded her new album, "Stars Dance," which consists of 11 pop songs she didn't pen herself backed by instruments she isn't playing. It might be fun for the causal young summertime listener. But it begs the important question: Why bother?
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Artistically, there's very little Selena Gomez here. This is merely the veneer of Selena Gomez, the look and feel of the pop starlet set atop a middling musical effort. There are lightly emotional lyrics that appear to reference her high-profile romance with ex Justin Bieber, but it is surface stuff and less than revealing.
Gomez's lead single and Billboard top 10 hit, the catchy "Come & Get It," is about the best offering here, thanks to Stargate's club-heavy beat. Songwriting and production assists from Ester Dean, The Cataracs, Rock Mafia and Desmond Child add polish, but it would be nice to unveil more of Gomez and less of the production team pros.
"Stars Dance" is the 21-year-old's first album without her band The Scene. She sings the word "baby" 22 times and "dream" 27. She makes stars dance on, wait for it, "Stars Dance" and takes on a hokey, reggae-inflected tone on "Like a Champion." If the pace fuels your body with dancing energy then Gomez has, one can only assume, done her job.
Indeed, this feels like a job. This feels like a vibrant young woman of Disney pedigree simply punched the clock and worked through an already cooked musical plot foisted upon her. Gomez might be an incredibly talented and interesting person with much to offer artistically, but we'll never find out at this rate.