Stars Dance is the first solo record from Selena Gomez. Following 3 records with her band, Selena Gomez & the Scene, and a brief musical hiatus where she starred in the risqué film Spring Breakers, this record along with her recent film appearance show Selena trying her very best to prove she’s not the Disney star she started out as.
Lead single, ‘Come & Get It’, received commercial success world wide reaching the top 10 in various countries, and you can see why. With it’s Bhangra beat, elements of Bollywood and dance used throughout, it’s something fresh and different. Not something you’d usually expect from an artist who’s previously released covers of Cruella De Vil. Incredibly catchy, it’s a perfect summer song, and shows Gomez has really grown up. Second single ‘Slowdown’ isn’t quite as strong, and hasn’t done nearly as well. But it’s another catchy pop nugget, this time with elements of dubstep, but still using dance features throughout. These dance elements may be due to the fact that Niles “Cyrano” Hollowell-Dhar, more commonly known as The Cataracts, produced the track.
The album opens with ‘Birthday’, a track full of handclaps and moans throughout. With lyrics such as “Feeling fine and free , Crashing into you, crashing into me (so yummy)”, and not-quite-rapping spoken sections, it’s reminiscent of artists like M.I.A and Gwen Stefani (during her Love. Angel. Music. Baby. stage); in fact Gomez has said that she wanted the track to have a ‘Hollaback Girl’ feel to it. It’s a strong opener to the album, yet unfortunately the record doesn’t continue like this.
‘Stars Dance’, produced by Rock Mafia is a slowed down club ballad, yet it just edges on boring. And when you reach the similarly styled ‘Write Your Name’ and ‘Love Will Remember’ towards the end of the record, although none of them are truly awful tracks, they just grow tiresome after three of almost exactly the same style.
The record doesn’t really distinguish Selena Gomez as a solo artist in her own right. Although lead single ‘Come & Get It’ is a flawed almost perfect pop song, and ‘Birthday’ is just as good, they both seem like Gomez is borrowing bits from other artists. The entirety of the LP could just as easily masquerade as covers of tracks by artists like Rihanna. Especially mid-album track ‘B.E.A.T’, which could have been released by Rihanna or Dev and I wouldn’t have been surprised if such was the case. It’s almost as if in Selena’s hurry to distance herself from her former Disney princess days, she didn’t take the time to really develop what kind of an artist she wanted to be.
Although the album starts off strongly, you grow tiresome of the auto-tuned vocals, club beats and similar sounding tracks. It’s a shame as certain pieces on the album had real potential, and show Gomez as an artist in her own right. she’s set out on the right track, yet the rest of the album just couldn’t compare to a few hit singles. It’s a shame as the starlet has a lot to give.